International Satellite Communications System page

The International Activities Office is the liaison between the international community and the ISCS program. As such, IAO works on program funding needs and requirements and helps coordinate NWS support to the program. Mr. Curt Barrett, International Activities, is the IAO Acting ISCS Program Coordinator.

ISCS is a satellite data distribution system operated by the United States National Weather Service (NWS), providing support to (1) the World Area Forecast System (WAFS), and (2) the Region IV Meteorological Telecommunications Network (RMTN). MCI WorldCom, under NWS contract, operates the satellite broadcast communications service for ISCS. Click here* for ISCS operations poster. (* requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

WAFS is a program developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to improve the quality and consistency of en route guidance provided for international aircraft operations. Currently, en route wind and temperature forecasts and some significant weather charts are being provided by two WAF Centers (WAFCs) in the U.S. and United Kingdom. In the final phase of WAFS, en route significant weather forecasting responsibilities will also be fully transferred to the two WAFCs. WAFC-Washington has responsibility for satellite data broadcasts to the Americas, the Atlantic, the Pacific and Eastern Asia Backup. WAFC-London has responsibility for broadcasts to Europe, Africa and western Asia.

WAFS Products include: Wind and Temperature Forecasts from six to 36 hours in the future - updated at least twice daily High-level Significant Weather Charts, updated as per ICAO requirements (Charts are currently a combination of those produced at the two WAFCs and others produced at RAFCs.) Wind and Temperature Charts Additional Data

The WAFS global satellite broadcasts have been operational since 1996

NWS is also cooperating with the WMO to provide satellite communications of meteorological observations and forecasts from the members of the southern part of WMO Region IV (the Caribbean and Central America). This system is called the Region IV Meteorological Telecommunication Network (RMTN-IV). The purpose of the RMTN-IV broadcast dissemination and data acquisition system (a two-way system) was to replace the two WMO Region IV regional communication networks of the Antilles

Meteorological (ANMET) and Central America Meteorological (CEMET) circuitry. This communications system increases the success of data delivery and receipt within that part of a WMO Region where past ground communications was difficult to maintain and the system supports WMO GTS needs for the exchange of all data types among WMO Member countries.

The NOAA/National Weather Service, through the International Activities Office, has managed the contracts for the purchase of the equipment and services, and has donated the equipment for sites in the Americas, Pacific, and eastern Asia. The recurring costs of the broadcast through the satellite are being paid by the U. S. FAA. International Activities is also coordinating the upgrade of the ISCS access capability of some countries in order to extend system life with a technology refresh program to incorporate technology advancements for enhanced performance capabilities, where appropriate.


For more information on WAFS and ISCS and the system upgrades, click the graphic below. It will open a new window.

link to International Satellite Communications Site. Clicking link will open a new window

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International Activities Office
1325 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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Page last modified: 14-Apr-2009 5:03 PM

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