The main objective of the EUMETNET-ABO (Aircraft Based Observations) Operational Service is to fulfil the requirements of the EUCOS Operational Programme for measurements of high quality upper air meteorological variables from aircraft.

  • "measuring high quality upper air meteorological variables from aircraft"

The tasks

The Programme will :

Deliver a service that ensures the operational performance targets are met within budget.
Monitor and evaluate quality of the observations such that suitably quality controlled data are delivered to the GTS.
Work with participating airlines and manage the relationship with them, conducting regular meetings with participating airlines and other service providers as needed.
Carry out the Extended Humidity Trial working closely with and in support of the E-ABO Humidity Business Case Drafting Group.
Maintain the E-ABO infrastructure and develop it as needed to fulfil the E-ABO requirements.
Work together with the WMO Aircraft-based Observing (ABO) Programme and aircraft manufacturers (e.g. Airbus) for the benefit of the service and in order to get humidity sensors and suitable software equipped on new aircraft
Use every opportunity to promote E-ABO by describing to the aviation industry the existing and potential benefits they have (and can have) of airline observations, including humidity, for improved weather products

The requirements

To provide:

Ascent/descent profiles measurements of wind and temperature at a minimum of 129 airports within the defined EUCOS Area;
3-hourly profile measurements from at least 37 selected airports within Europe (between 0600 and 2400 UTC)
En-route and profile observations from data sparse areas having an impact on short range forecasts in Europe, to be adjusted as necessary according to the results of the EUCOS design studies (routes from Europe to North Africa, South America and Canada, over Siberia and the Arctic).
Observation data from outside the EUCOS area as a contribution (min 11%) to the WMO World Weather Watch Programme
Capability for the procurement of additional aircraft data to meet specific requirements of the Members.

The programme will optimise the data collection process to maximise cost efficiency and address the need for humidity measurements as a high priority.

The organisation

The new phase of E-ABO began on 1st January 2019 and will last for five years, until 2023. The Coordinating Member is the Met Office and the Programme Manager is Mr Steve Stringer. The Technical Co-ordinator is Mr Stewart Taylor.

More information


First meteorological data from aircrafts were taken in the early beginning of aircraft era. Following development of the concept for transmitting aircraft temperature and wind information to the ground in real-time by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in the 1980’s, Europena National Met Services (NMHS) started developing their own individual AMDAR Programmes with their National carriers. Each NMHS was then responsible for data insertion to the GTS.

Initial airlines and start dates:

KLM (1993)
Air France (1995)
British Airways (1998)
SAS (1998)
Lufthansa (1999)

Met Office (UK) developed an automated data processing system to handle its British Airways data and so the opportunity arose to provide a single processing system for all European AMDAR data.

The European operational network was therefore established in June 2009 by the Met Office with 10 National Met Services (EUMETNET Members) agreeing to contribute and this Programme “Pilot Phase” extended to 2002.

Participating Airlines

Currently 14 airlines are participating in E-ABO, more than 1000 planes are equipped for transmitting the meteorological data.


Data & Infrastructures

What is E-AMDAR
E-AMDAR is EUMETNETs contribution to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) observing system. E-AMDAR facilitates the fully automated collection and transmission of weather observations from commercial aircraft. The E-AMDAR programme is an integrated component of the WMO Global Observing System (GOS) of the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme . The system is operated by EUMETNET Member NMHS in collaboration and cooperation with partner airlines.

The AMDAR Observing System
The figure below provides a general depiction of the AMDAR system in which onboard sensors, computers and communications systems collect, process, format and transmit the data to ground stations via satellite and VHF radio links. The transmission of this data is most often performed by the aircraft’s ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) system. Once on the ground, the data is then relayed to the global network of national meteorological services and other authorised users.


The management team
The Management team (Operational Service Manager and Technical Co-ordinator) are both full-time employees of the Met Office that reside within the Operations and Services Directorate of the Met Office; within the Observations programme that also provides the necessary administrative support and back-up.

Global E-AMDAR data distribution