EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A New Process for Producing First Guess TAFs

Andre Lanyon, Jessica Standen, and Piers Buchanan
Andre Lanyon et al.
  • Met Office, Exeter, UK, EX1 3PB (

Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) are a widely accepted international form of aviation forecast used for flight planning procedures at all major airports. TAF production in the UK is currently a time-consuming, manual process carried out by Operational Meteorologists. It has long been speculated that providing a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model-derived first guess solution could bring large improvements in the efficiency of TAF production. Research into first guess TAFs has a long history but making progress has been challenging. However, significant progress has been made at the Met Office in recent months. A practical approach has been adopted that draws on experience of manually producing TAFs. Although NWP model data is utilised as much as possible, steps have been taken to ensure the first guess TAFs are kept as simple and readable as possible whilst retaining information important to the customer. By taking this approach, it is hoped that the first guess TAFs will require minimal intervention from Operational Meteorologists in the majority of weather situations. Development of first guess TAFs is still in the preliminary stages and not all weather parameters are currently included. However, they are produced in such a way that they can be verified using standard Met Office methods, allowing objective comparison with operationally issued TAFs. Verification scores analysed over a 3 year period are encouraging and suggest that forecast performance of first guess TAFs is generally similar to that of operationally issued TAFs. Occasionally, some large differences become apparent when comparing forecasts of rare events such as mist, fog and very low cloud bases, and this is likely to be an area of future research. With further development, it is speculated that the use of first guess TAFs could significantly reduce TAF production time, allowing Operational Meteorologists to make better use of their expertise, perhaps by adding value to model output or by providing valuable consultation services to aviation customers.

How to cite: Lanyon, A., Standen, J., and Buchanan, P.: A New Process for Producing First Guess TAFs, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5154,, 2020


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