A Review of High Impact Weather for Aviation Meteorology

Ismail Gultepe, R. Sharman, Paul D. Williams, Binbin Zhou, G. Ellrod, P. Minnis, S. Trier, S. Griffin, Seong S. Yum, B. Gharabaghi, W. Feltz, M. Temimi, Zhaoxia Pu, L. N. Storer, P. Kneringer, M. J. Weston, Hui ya Chuang, L. Thobois, A. P. Dimri, S. J. DietzGutemberg B. França, M. V. Almeida, F. L.Albquerque Neto

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144 Citations (Scopus)


This review paper summarizes current knowledge available for aviation operations related to meteorology and provides suggestions for necessary improvements in the measurement and prediction of weather-related parameters, new physical methods for numerical weather predictions (NWP), and next-generation integrated systems. Severe weather can disrupt aviation operations on the ground or in-flight. The most important parameters related to aviation meteorology are wind and turbulence, fog visibility, aerosol/ash loading, ceiling, rain and snow amount and rates, icing, ice microphysical parameters, convection and precipitation intensity, microbursts, hail, and lightning. Measurements of these parameters are functions of sensor response times and measurement thresholds in extreme weather conditions. In addition to these, airport environments can also play an important role leading to intensification of extreme weather conditions or high impact weather events, e.g., anthropogenic ice fog. To observe meteorological parameters, new remote sensing platforms, namely wind LIDAR, sodars, radars, and geostationary satellites, and in situ instruments at the surface and in the atmosphere, as well as aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles mounted sensors, are becoming more common. At smaller time and space scales (e.g., < 1 km), meteorological forecasts from NWP models need to be continuously improved for accurate physical parameterizations. Aviation weather forecasts also need to be developed to provide detailed information that represents both deterministic and statistical approaches. In this review, we present available resources and issues for aviation meteorology and evaluate them for required improvements related to measurements, nowcasting, forecasting, and climate change, and emphasize future challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-1921
Number of pages53
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This review paper is funded by the various institutions representing co-authors given in the title, and received technical and funding support from ECCC and SAR offices in Canada that were related to fog and visibility issues. S. S. Yum is supported by the Research and Development Program for KMA Weather, Climate and Earth System Services (#2016-3100) of National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS). We also would like to thank for the reviewers for their comments to improve the manuscript, and specifically to one of the reviewers who made specific comments on satellite and radar based platforms to be used for aviation meteorology.

Funding Information:
The FAA effort consolidating the storm prediction systems led to the establishment of collaboration between MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Research Applications Laboratory (RAL), the NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Systems Division (GSD) and NASA, called the Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA; Wolfson et al. 2008). The CoSPA is funded under the FAA’s Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) (Dupree et al. 2009). One of the goals of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) project (Stobie et al. 2008) is to consolidate the redundant and sometimes conflicting forecast systems into a Single Authoritative Source (SAS) for aviation uses (Dupree et al. 2009). The current CoSPA prototype for 0–6 h forecasts is part of the NextGen Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2013.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Crown.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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