The World Meteorological Organization (2003) describes the purpose of meteorological services to aviation as “to provide the operational meteorological information that is required for safe, regular and efficient air navigation as well as meteorological support to the near-real-time activities of the aviation industry. The information provided for air traffic services (ATS) units and other aeronautical users may consist of actual and forecast meteorological conditions at aerodromes, for specified areas around aerodromes and during the en-route phase of flights originating from the aerodrome.” For Air Traffic Control (ATC), aviation meteorology has a direct and undeniable impact on operations, as it influences every facet of the work to be performed, whether it is deviations, micro-bursts and wind-shear, thunderstorms and hail, icing, contaminated runways, or turbulence, just to name a few.
What falls under Meteorology?
According to the Meteorology Panel (METP), the following areas of expertise are an integral part of the weather and meteorology domain (ICAO, 2014):
- The definition and elaboration of concepts for aeronautical MET service provision, consistent with the identified operational requirements, including the functions and processes necessary to provide quality assured, cost-effective aeronautical MET services and information supporting the future globally interoperable air traffic management system through system-wide information management (SWIM);
- The identification of the necessary scientific and/or technological capabilities to fulfil the identified operational requirements;
- The development and maintenance of globally agreed provisions, necessary for meteorological service for international air navigation;
- The development and maintenance of aeronautical MET integration roadmaps (or similar) that provide transition strategies for aeronautical MET services and information; and
- The development of proposals fostering interoperability through appropriate collaborative arrangements for global, multi-regional, regional, sub-regional and national/local MET systems and services.
Why is meteorology so important for aviation?
Aviation meteorology (MET) is possibly the most important data stream for air traffic management (ATM) services given its impact on both safety and efficiency. Improving the integration of MET is a vital element of efforts to define tomorrow’s ATM services. (Hisscott, 2013)
“MET is essential,” adds Dr Alan Hisscott. “Pilots need to know weather conditions for take-off, en route and at their destination airfield, as well as possible diversions. This basically ties in with ‘aerodrome’ and ‘en route’ ATM operations, so the two go hand in hand. Also, with the development and increasing reliance on satellite navigation, space weather is also becoming very important to aviation.
The aviation industry is also becoming more environmentally conscious, and the price of fuel has also been driving more economical operations for many years, so forecasting upper-level winds have become essential to long haul operations, while accurate aerodrome forecasting is important to minimise costly diversions.
An extreme example of the interaction of MET and ATM occurred during the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, when MET dispersion forecasts were used by ATM services to define safe routes avoiding the ash cloud.”
For more information, visit one of the following WIKIFATCA pages:
- AAS 1.16 FUTURE WEATHER DISTRIBUTION
- AAS 1.17 SPACE WEATHER
- Collaborative Decision Making
- Investigate the Use and Impact of “Electronic Means Complementing Visual Observation in Tower Control” on the ATCO
- Relay of Flight Information from Air Traffic Service to Aircraft
- Weather Deviation Procedure in Asia-Pacific Region
Last Update: September 19, 2020