World Area Forecast System (WAFS) is digital data set DSI-9939, archived at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). WAFS is a system for the world wide broadcast of aviation related weather information via satellite. It is a joint effort of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS), with additional ... contributions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Kingdom, Finland, Canada, and others. The WAFS global satellite broadcasts have been operational since 1996. NCDC has data available since 2002.The WAFS communications are through commercial satellites--NOAA uses INTELSAT VI, the communications satellite that the Space Shuttle astronauts rescued in order to provide it with the rocket motor required to reach geostationary orbit, to broadcast to the Americas; and INTELSAT V over the Pacific and eastern Asia. The United Kingdom uses a satellite over the Indian Ocean, to reach Europe, Africa, and the rest of Asia. NOAA 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). The RMTN uses the Intelsat VI satellite, and is managed by MCI/WorldCom, Inc. for NOAA. NOAA's set of satellite communications services includes the WAFS and the RMTN, which are known collectively as the International Satellite Communication System (ISCS).The U.S. system being implemented in the respective countries comprises a Very Small Aperture (Antenna) Terminal (VSAT), which consists of a dish antenna of 2.4 meters diameter, and a computer work station. The NOAA/National Weather Service is managing the contracts for the purchase of the equipment and services, and has donated the equipment for over 40 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.NOAA's World Data Center Washington collects aviation-related observations, forecasts, and other messages from the WMO's Global Telecommunication System (GTS), and adds charts and computer forecasts of temperature, winds, humidity, and other elements over the entire globe. These products are transferred as soon as they are available to MCI/WorldCom, Inc. (the communications contractor), who puts them into the WAFS satellite broadcast stream immediately.The alphanumeric data that could be delivered to a meteorological station via the old communications system in an hour can now be received in less than a minute. In addition, the WAFS system provides, in a couple of hours, special digital data files for world-wide aviation forecasts that would take days to deliver on the old system.