COMMITTEE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND COMMUNICATIONS

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					  INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORTING
                            RESEARCH (ICMSSR)

                         COMMITTEE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS
                                    AND COMMUNICATIONS (CEISC)

                          WORKING GROUP FOR METEOROLOGICAL CODES (WG/MC)

                                           Meeting 2008-2 Draft Record of Actions

                                                           16 Oct 08
                                                    Silver Spring, Maryland

MEMBERS PRESENT

 CH        Jeffrey Ator                     NWS/NCEP/NCO                    301-763-8000 ex 7104   jeff.ator@noaa.gov
 A         Michelle Mainelli                NWS/NCEP/NCO                    301-763-8000 ex 7194   michelle.m.mainelli@noaa.gov
 ES        Lt Col Chaz Harris               OFCM                            301-427-2056 ex 17     charles.harris@noaa.gov
 M         Ken Barnett                      OFCM                            301-427-2056 ex 14     kenneth.barnett@noaa.gov
 M         Tony Ramirez                     OFCM ES for JAG/ODAA            301-427-2056 ex 32     Tony.Ramirez@noaa.gov
 M         Cindie Abelman                   NWS/OCWWS/MSD/AWSB              301-713-1726 ex 140    cyndie.abelman@noaa.gov
 M         Michael Graf                     NWS/OCWWS/MSD/AWSB              301-713-1726 ex117     Michael.graf@noaa.gov
 M         SMSgt Steve LeBrun               USAF HAF/A3O-WP                 703-696-4393           stephen.lebrun@pentagon.af.mil
 M         Kurt Nelson                      USN OPNAV N841                  202-762-0603           kurt.a.nelson@navy.mil
 M          Lamar Troutman (t)              USN FNMOC                       831-656-4408           lamar.troutman@navy.mil
 M          David E. Johnson (t)            USA/DAMI-OPS                    703-695-2869           david.johnson4@us.army.mil
 A         Mr. Eric Wise (t)                DOD/USAF/AFWA                   (402) 232-6815         Eric.Wise@afwa.af.mil
 A         Paul A. Zamiska (t) ‘Al’         DOD/USAF/AFWA                   (402) 294-3947         Paul.Zamiska@afwa.af.mil
 M         Sergio Marsh                     NWS/OCWWS/OS-7                  (301) 713-1792 ex124   Sergio.Marsh@noaa.gov
 A         James Heil ‘Jim’                 NWS/OCWWS/OS-7                  (301) 713-1792 ex157   James.Heil@noaa.gov
 M         Steven Albersheim (t)            DOT/FAA                         202-385-7185           Steven.Albersheim@faa.gov
 A         Richard Robinson (in for Will    NWS/CIO II                      301-713-0880 ex 179    Richard.robinson@noaa.gov
           Smith, NWS)
 T         Roy Rassmussen (t)               Senior Scientist, NCAR          (303) 497-8430         rasmus@rap.ucar.edu
 T         James T. Riley (t)               AJP-6350 FAA Tech Ctr           609 485-4144           james.t.riley@faa.gov
 T         Robert S. Lee (t)                AvMet Applications Inc. (FAA)   571-748-3129


CH = Chairperson        ES = Executive Secretary     M = Member A = Alternate
P = Participant         O = Observer         T = Technical Advisor CC = Info Copy
(t) – Attended via telephone, otherwise in person for meeting

Date Draft Issued:              22 Oct 08                Date Final Issued:


1. Opening and administrative remarks. Jeff Ator welcomed attendees and, for the benefit of those
new to the team, mentioned he’s also the U.S. representative to the WMO Codes Team. The draft
Record of Actions for the last meeting was approved. WG/MC documents and meeting items are
available on the OFCM WG/MC web site, http://www.ofcm.gov/wg-mc/index.htm.

2. Review of previous Action Items (AI)

Action Item 06-1.1              Sample BUFR & CREX Data                                            OPEN
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   NWS will make sample Binary Universal Form for the Representation of weather data (BUFR) and
Character Form for the Representation and Exchange of data (CREX) available to members for code
development and testing. (note: this is a sub-item related to the below action for a national BUFR
migration plan) Lead agent: NWS/Mr. Smith. NWS continues to work this issue.

Mr. Branski discussed this effort and all agreed that these data samples are still needed. Other nations
are starting to make these data available and these will soon be hosted at NWS. Mr. Smith is the new
NWS lead for this issue.

Status as of 10/6/06. WG members said the desire is not for live data at this time. Live data can cause
operational problems. Seeking static, sample data at this time.

Status as of 2/21/07. Mr. Smith made data available previously for this effort. Additionally, he will
make additional data available to the group. Any additional requests for sample data should be
directed to Mr. Smith.

Status as of 7/3/07. Mr. Wise (USAF) and Mr. Troutman (USN) indicated that they still need
information on MANOP headers. Mr. Smith will be asked to provide this information.

Status as of 2/14/08. Mr. Troutman clarified what he needs from Mr. Smith. He needs a surface report
and conventional data examples in order to stay in front of the (Table Driven Code Form like BUFR)
migration. Mr. Wise added that help was needed from NWS to determine the bulletin contents, not just
a list of MANOP headers, since the headers are generated with some flexibility. The migration is in
response to the need to switch to BUFR to make coding changes more flexible. WMO is driving BUFR
for the code forms they control. WMO does not control aviation codes (TAF, METAR, etc…), but those
code forms are included late in the scheduled migration from alphanumeric codes to BUFR. WMO
asked for a national migration plan and OFCM tasked this group (WG/MC) to develop the migration
plan. The guide to BUFR was online at the OFCM website but the link no longer works. (OFCM will
update the link.) The OPR is Mr. Smith. The estimated completion date is ??

Status: 16 Oct 08. The above link on the OFCM website was corrected o/a 14 Oct 08. AFWA still
desires detailed MANOP header list and descriptions in lieu of decoding the bulletin and discovering
themselves. Lamar noted the relation to the national BUFR migration plan i.e. agencies need to know
what bulletins exist and a description of each to use in order to make the change. Group feels this still
should be an open action item. Richard said he would get with Walter Smith back to get status of
MANOP header descriptions.

Action Item 06-3.2     US National BUFR Migration Plan               OPEN ETA: Fall 09

Opened 10/6/06. Following the November 06 CBS meeting, Mr. Branski will extract the appropriate
documents and recommendations regarding migration and will provide these along with plans that are
already in progress to the WG. The lead agent is Mr. Branski.

Status as of 2/21/07. Mr. Branski was unable to attend this meeting. The WG continues to look for an
update.

Status as of 7/3/07. Mr. Branski indicated that he would provide further direction concerning the
national migration plan at a future date. Additionally, Mr. Branski stated that he would develop a white
paper on a tentative structure for this.

Status as of 2/14/08. The WG/MC needs to know if Mr. Branski is still the OPR on this item. What
does the WMO need? The estimated completion date is ??
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Status as of 16 Oct 08. Chaz Harris mentioned his discussion with Fred Branski, US Representative to
the WMO Migration team (also chair), who said this is becoming a higher priority and would like to see
a plan within the next year. Chaz suggested the WG formally request a white paper from Mr Branski
outlining what the migration plan would look like by 1 Jan. In addition, Jeff suggested looking at other
country draft plans as guidance. Jeff will provide WMO migration info.
[http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/WMOCodes/MigrationInfoDocum.html - provided here 21 Oct:]
Jeff said Fred would be the OPR to turn in this plan for the US. Thus, he should still be the OPR for
this WG/MC AI as well. No one knew any information (deadline, content, etc) about the above OFCM
tasking (ref AI 06-1.1, 14 Feb 08) for the migration plan. The Chair confirmed WG/MC still has action
for this national migration plan.

Action Item 06-3.4     Communication Nulls/Nills                     Closed 16 Oct 08

Opened 10/6/06. Mr. Branski will review requirements for use of communication nulls and will inform
the WG of them along with NWS plans for changes. The lead agent is Mr. Branski.

Status as of 2/21/07. Mr. Branski was unable to attend this meeting. The WG continues to look for an
update.

Status as of 7/3/07. Mr. Branski indicated that this issue is still under review. No significant update to
report at this time.

Status as of 2/14/08. Mr. Walt Smith will take over this action item. Estimated completion date is ??

Status as of 16 Oct 08. Mike Graf noted the gateway will not put out a collective bulletin unless
something comes in to fill the collective bulletin. UKMO scans and issues reports. Also Mike noted the
FAA will not require reporting of nulls. Richard Robinson said null reporting or nils are required and
referenced WMO 386 publication. If data does not come in, NWS will request the information. No
plans for changes in this process. Recommend close.

Action Item 06-3.5     Product Catalog                               Open

Opened 10/6/06. Mr. Branski will work with Mr. Smith to provide a catalog of products in various
formats for use (for what?). The lead agents are Mr. Branski and Mr. Smith.

Status as of 2/21/07. Mr. Branski was unable to attend this meeting. The WG continues to look for an
update.

Status as of 7/3/07. No update.

Status as of 2/14/08. Mr. Walt Smith will take over as OPR on this action item. He needs to find out
what catalogue Mr. Branski was referring to. Estimated completion date is ?? Open.

Status as of 16 Oct 08. Noted issue was linked with another group, the Operational Data Acquisistion
for Assimilation (ODAA) Joint Action Group (JAG) under the National Operational Processing Centers
Program Council, which is interested in descriptions of BUFR data and a listing of BUFR bulletins; still
an open item for them as they haven’t been able to obtain this information. JAG still wrestling with this
issue. ODAA hasn’t received much input from TOC but they will see if Allan Darling can help as he will
be new chair at Cooperative Support and Backup (CSAB) Working Group (above the ODAA). AFWA
tried to use a WMO list but it’s not always current. AFWA also tried to create the list but it became too
manpower intensive. Jeff Ator provided a list of only BUFR products available or received at NCEP not
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what’s available at the NWS Telecommunication Operations Center (TOC) which is more
comprehensive. Everything that NCEP has comes from the TOC.
  NWS is working and testing some products being changed to BUFR. NWS does not know of a
complete listing of products nor does NWS keep descriptions of all incoming products; they would have
to request that information from the various sources. Thus, the product list is not easily created. Mr.
Robinson to search for the previous NESDIS list of available BUFR products.


Action Item 07-2.1 GRIB1 to GRIB2 Migration                 OPEN – Continue to monitor

Opened 7/3/07. Mr. Branski would like an update from each agency regarding their use of GRIB1 data.
Specifically, he would like each agency to estimate the date on which they will no longer require data in
that format. All WG members are asked to provide this information by 31 Aug 07.

Status as of 2/14/08. Mr. Smith will take over as OPR and find out what Mr. Branski needs.

The FAA at the present time plans to migrate to GRIB2 by 2014.
Mr. Wise mentioned that AFWA does not need GRIB 1 data from NOAA any more. AFWA still uses
GRIB 1 internally but can accept NOAA data using GRIB 2. AFWA is not yet creating any of its models
in GRIB2, but intends to migrate.
The Navy said they are migrating to GRIB 2.
OPR is now Mr. Smith. Estimated completion date is ??

Status as of 16 Oct 08. AFWA does not have a formal plan to migrate to GRIB2 so ETA is TBD; only
slow progress on changing output to G2. They use a converter instead to translate G2 back to G1 for
internal use and output. Joint METOC Broker Language (JMBL) will refer data requests to the G1 or
G2 file via a URL. USN reps were unaware of G1 to G2 migration plan so Kurt Nelson will take action
to get an update. Action Item; OPR – USN for latest G1-G2 update.


Action Item 07-2.2 FMH 3 Updates                                   Open ETA: TBD

Opened 7/3/07. Lt Col Andrus will provide a coordination document to WG members and will seek their
input on potential changes to FMH 3. All agencies representatives will need to provide input on this
within the next few weeks.

Status as of 2/14/08. Lt Col Fitzgerald reviewed all of the items on the list of proposed changes to FMH
3 and needs clarification on about half of them. Mr. Sergio Marsh and his team are reviewing the list of
proposed changes for accuracy and rewording them into one-for-one text exchanges in order to
facilitate FMH 3 changes. OPR is Lt Col Fitzgerald. Estimated completion date is 06/14/08.

Status: 16 Oct 08. With all the pending changes, Sergio recommends the whole document should be
updated especially with new era in UA measurements, updated safety items, new formulas,
unnecessary listings which can be referenced elsewhere, etc. Sergio suggested a widely represented
sub-group be formed and follow the pattern from the last rewrite in 1997. Chair and rest of group
concurs. Kurt suggested sub-group look at UAS. Also, group needs to look at not duplicating
information in other publications. Chaz said he would work with Jeff on how to form this sub-group.
Action Item. OPR – Chair & OFCM.

Action Item 08-1.1 Outreach to WIST WG                             Closed 16 Oct 08


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Opened 2/14/08. Contact the Weather In Surface Transportation Working Group and ask them if they
would like help with their data standards for transmitting their surface observations. POC: Lt Col
Fitzgerald, Due Date: 4/14/08.
Status as of 16 Oct 08. LtCol Harris coordinated with ES of WIST and no requests were made but the
WIST WG knows where to get help if needed. Recommended item be closed and group agreed.

Current Agenda Items

1. WMO Codes Meeting Back Brief – Jeff Ator. Jeff provided a briefing of issues from the September
2008 meeting of the WMO codes group. The full final report is available at
http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/CBS-Reports/ISS-index.html#WDM, downloadable as 2 separate
files for the main report (in MSWord) and the corresponding annexes (in MSWord or PDF). A total of 6
U.S. proposals were presented at the WMO meeting, and the corresponding results were briefed to the
WG/MC. Jeff also highlighted several other important issues within his brief:

          Current BUFR edition is number 4. Edition 5 will probably come in Nov 2011 and will include a
           new Table C operator for representation of data values using IEEE.
          Beginning with the next version 14 of the BUFR master tables, changes will be allowed to scale
           factor, bit width and/or reference value of existing descriptors where needed. The old practice
           was never to modify an existing descriptor but rather to always deprecate it and create a new
           one, even if the old descriptor was clearly erroneous. This practice has led to the tables getting
           full, but it was useful for decoders of data because they only ever needed to have the latest
           version of the tables in order to decode any previous BUFR message. But from now on, since
           existing descriptors can now change in a new version of the table, everyone’s software will need
           to pay careful attention to which version of the tables they are using WMO will keep the current
           version 13 and all future table versions available online in one or more easily-downloadable
           formats. This new practice will also apply to upcoming versions of the GRIB2 master table as
           well, beginning with version 5.
          ICAO (which controls METAR, SPECI and TAF codes) has stopped migration to BUFR and is
           considering XML format. ICAO understands old fixed fields are too inflexible but BUFR (table
           driven code) may not be best option (e.g. BUFR not easily human readable). ETA: TBD. Steve
           said mostly likely next window for change will be during an ICAO divisional meeting in 2013
           where a recommendation and agreement could be made (amendment cycle). WMO created
           another group, Expert Team for the Assessment of Data Representation Systems (ETADRS –
           Fred Branski Co-Chair), to look at feasibility of using XML; first meeting was in Apr 08. Jeff
           suggested this is the most appropriate group to advise ICAO on any formats other than BUFR,
           CREX or GRIB2. Steve said industry has commented XML is not necessarily compatible with
           some flight planning systems.
          WMO official place for code information is http://www.wmo.int/ pages/prog/www/
           WMOCodes.html. Note the templates for changes to BUFR.

2. Update of Liquid Water Equivalent (LWE) change to FMH-1. Steve Albersheim noted that the
U.S. uses English units in the METAR report which is contrary to other States. As part of the Safety
Risk Assessment the FAA will have to evaluate whether English units or Metric is used for LWE. It was
agreed that OFCM has responsibility to cross-check any LWE changes with rest of document i.e.
consistency. Furthermore it was brought to the groups attention that at the Aerodrome Meteorological
Observation Forecast Study Group it was recommended LWE would only be reported in local reports
and not the METAR. The US does not use local reports. Regardless of the outcome at ICAO, the FAA
still will proceed with changing FMH-1 to allow for the reporting of LWE.

Jim Riley is working LWE SRA for FAA and delayed due to internal process questions. Roy
Rassmussen would like to confirm there were no major show stoppers during this meaning. There’s a
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question about the update rate as well: 5 or 10 minutes. Steve referenced FAA’s letter of 2002 to
NWS that provided the original requirement. In Steve’s opinion, any change to that requirement should
go through coordination with a follow up letter. An initial SRA was done but FAA determined that a full
analysis including flight standards coordination needs to be done. FAA flight standards is actually the
proponent of the change since it affects de-icing procedures. Working group provided pre-approval to
the change in lieu of OFCM final review and any changes that may come from the FAA’s SRA. Chaz
noted that one way to coordinate the FMH would be to use the OFCM chain through the
Interdepartmental Committee for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (ICMSSR). Jim
Riley stated OFCM could participate in the SRA panel process. ETA on the SRA is still 4-6 months.
Steve brought up the issue of rainfall rates such as in Table 8-1 being in line with WMO standards.
Chaz said he would look into WMO deviations. Overall OPR – FAA. Action Item 08-1.2 OFCM for
WMO research.

3. Ice Accretion Change to FMH-1. This issue comes out of work initiated by NWS, sponsored by
ASOS program office, related to the freezing rain probe. Current proposed language out of FAA pub
7900.5b will be implemented with the next ASOS baseline. There may be some funding issues for FAA
with this as well with LWE. NWS is the lead sponsor to update FMH-1. OPR – NWS.

4. Chap 2 Publication Reference in FMH-1. Change “National Ocean Service (NOS) U.S. Terminal
Procedures.” to “... FAA National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) US Terminal Procedures.” No
objections noted. OPR – OFCM.

5. Observing Equipment Certification Authority for US Army. The Army would like its own ability
apart from other military services or agencies to certify Army owned weather equipment. No
disagreements were raised but OFCM is waiting on Army internal coordination. OPR – USA.

6. Other Changes for the FMHs. No additional changes were brought up during the meeting but it
was noted that they could be anytime with notification to OFCM and MC/WG Chair.

7. USAF Sky Cover Coding - Use of CLR. First, the USAF will not be following Amendment 74 to
ICAO Annex 3 – Meteorological Services for Air Navigation, for sky cover using NSC and NCD. Also,
USAF will only use CLR and not SKC due to their push to automated observations and the fact that the
automated observation has “AUTO” in the report so they didn’t feel another designator or reference for
a non-automated sky cover report was needed. Going in USAF Manual 15-124 TAF Codes and 15-
111. No objections were raised but Mr Albersheim requested these documents from SMSgt
Albersheim. Action Item 08-1.3 created; OPR – USAF.

8. ROFOR Code. At the WMO meeting, the ICAO representative stated there was no continuing need
for ROFOR at the international level. Does this code need to be documented in an OFCM manual (e.g.
FMH #12) for continued use within U.S. by FAA or USAF? First, FAA needs to validate the
requirement. Action Item 08-1.4 created; OPR – FAA.

9. AI Summary. Closed two old items: 8-1.1 WIST Outreach and 6-3.4 Communication Nulls.
Continued with five old items and created three new items. See separate worksheet for summary.


  MC AIs 17 Nov
     08.xls


10. Plans for next meeting: Another meeting will potentially be scheduled for Mar-Apr 09.


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