New Cloud Depiction System Goes Online

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Miles Brown
  • Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs
The Air Force Weather Agency launched its new global cloud analysis and forecasting capability with the operational implementation of the Cloud Depiction and Forecasting System II June 24.

CDFSII processes data from a variety of satellites on an hourly schedule to produce high-resolution cloud products. These cloud products are used in direct support of the warfighter, providing mission planners a complete picture of the battlespace from the ground to the upper atmosphere.

"This new system merges visible and infrared data collected from polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites to produce virtually seamless cloud analyses and forecasts," said Capt. Darryl Leon, CDFS II project manager at AFWA.

AFWA is the DoD's premiere provider of cloud analyses and forecasts, and the only agency in the world with this capability.

"Clouds impact operations and particularly intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms and sensors every day," said Col. Bob Allen, commander, AFWA. "With the implementation of CDFS II, we're delivering the best cloud products available to help select weapon systems and sensors for use in the battlefield and to better define the best windows of opportunity for military operations."

Launching the new CDFS II culminates thousands of man-hours of planning, design, logistics, and software engineering. The new products this system delivers are significantly improved over the original CDFS, processing data from nine satellites simultaneously at quadruple the resolution.

"The previous cloud forecasting system was event driven, processing products only when satellite data was available from the polar-orbiting satellites," said Leon. "Now, we have higher resolution, worldwide cloud data updated every hour. The forecasts generated from the cloud analyses are also produced hourly, and extends out to 12 hours."

These new cloud products are already employed to support the intelligence community missions in AFWA's National Intelligence Community Weather Branch and the Air Force Combat Climatology Center, Ashville, N.C. Future applications for CDFS II include providing the information through the Joint Air Force and Army Weather Information Network and incorporation of the data into long-range weather prediction forecasts.

"The tailored CDFS II cloud information we provide to the Intel community help reduce casualties and greatly increase the odds that a military operation will succeed," said Maj. Jeff Cox, chief, NICWB, AFWA.

CDFS II is an integral part of AFW's ongoing effort to provide next-generation, advanced-technology tools to front-line weather forecasters. AFWA's mission is to maximize the nation's aerospace and ground combat effectiveness by providing accurate, relevant and timely air and space weather information to DoD, coalition, and national users. This system is yet another piece of the total weather forecasting package AFWA provides as a tangible and direct benefit to warfighters and mission planners.