eGAFOR Integration into SkyDemon

eGAFOR Integration into SkyDemon

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eGAFOR (enhanced, electronic and European GAFOR) is a new graphical colour-coded forecast for general aviation (GA). It was developed by CCL (Croatia – the initiator and leading partner), ARSO (Slovenia), BHANSA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), OMSZ (Hungary), ROMATSA (Romania), SHMU (Slovakia) and SMATSA (Serbia and Montenegro) with Slovakian IBL as an industrial partner within the framework of an EU-funded project that was carried out between 2017 and 2021. Towards the end of the project, partners looked at how best to operationally issue eGAFOR once the project was over. This was difficult as there were multiple problems ranging from the procurement to the recognition of this new type of forecast by the aviation and meteorological community. The solution was found under the umbrella of EUMETNET and it was decided that the operational production and further development of eGAFOR products should continue as part of EUMETNET’s Aviation Support Programme (ASP). The participation in the ASP will also facilitate new members joining eGAFOR as there has already been interest from other aviation service providers.

General aviation is the most vulnerable part of aviation because it operates in the lower part of the atmosphere where the most hazardous meteorological phenomena occur. Although many GA pilots are experienced, there is a large number of less experienced pilots flying light aircraft without sufficient meteorological awareness. In addition to this, meteorological products for GA in Europe differ between the areas covered, timeframes, visualization and forecasting methods. However, the biggest issue is that they are not harmonized between neighbouring countries. Due to this lack of coordination in forecasts, meteorological phenomena can  seem to end at political borders, and this incongruity can reduce users´ confidence.

All of the above-mentioned reasons contributed to weather-related GA accidents with 392 fatalities over the past 10 years in Europe ( https://www.easa.europa.eu/newsroom-and-events/events/general-aviation-and-low-level-weather-seminar, the introductory presentation)

eGAFOR  is roughly based on traditional GAFOR (General Aviation FORecast), but with several improvements. Firstly, it is produced simultaneously and collaboratively in multiple countries, so users can see the forecast for a wider area on a single platform.  Before eGAFOR, when users were preparing a cross-border flight, they had to visit multiple web pages to collect meteorological data.

In addition, whilst traditional GAFOR is a deterministic forecast based on two meteorological elements, low clouds and visibility, eGAFOR is a probabilistic forecast of five elements (clouds, visibility, cumulonimbus clouds, turbulence and freezing precipitation). On top of this, eGAFOR is an interactive webpage accessible via www.egafor.eu, whilst traditional GAFOR is intended for printing.

Figure 1 eGAFOR forecast on www.egafor.eu webpage

SkyDemon is one of the best VFR (Visual Flight Rules) flight-planning and navigation software in the world, made by Divelements Limited, an independent software company based in the UK. SkyDemon was launched in 2009 and has been developing and advancing ever since.

The SkyDemon team recognized the problem of obtaining meteorological data for cross-border flights and therefore one of the features SkyDemon offers is meteorological data integrated into VFR planning charts. For that reason, SkyDemon integrated traditional GAFOR over the countries that provided the forecasts. Since the traditional GAFORs are produced per country, a lot of effort had to be invested in order to integrate different forecasts into a single one.

With the introduction of eGAFOR, SkyDemon took the opportunity to widen its network and to provide more meteorological data to end-users, general aviation pilots, to make their flight planning safer. However, since eGAFOR is in many aspects different from the traditional GAFOR, further development was required. There were various problems, different times of issuing, more forecasted phenomena, different visualization, to name a few. Once these problems were solved, eGAFOR was successfully integrated into SkyDemon:

Figure 2: Integration of eGAFOR into SkyDemon

Figure 3: An example of the integration of eGAFOR into SkyDemon: Austria is producing the traditional GAFOR, while Hungary is producing eGAFOR. Two different products are successfully harmonized.

This integration will help general aviation users in their cross-border flight planning between countries where eGAFOR is issued and countries where the traditional GAFOR remains

We hope this will benefit our end-users and make their flight planning easier, thus increasing their safety.

Further Information

Making of eGAFOR on YouTube

eGAFOR viewer

East Mediterranean Storm naming group names its first storm

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Greece, Cyprus and Israel have formed the East Mediterranean Storm Naming Group.

Greece has named its first Storm ‘Athina’.

EUMETNET welcomes its new Executive Director

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EUMETNET would like to welcome Klemen Bergant, who has taken over from Eric Petermann as the new Executive Director from 1st September.

 

“It is a great honour and responsibility for me to take up the post of Executive Director of EUMETNET and thus support members in developing their individual and joint capabilities in the fields of observation, forecasting, climate and aviation.”

Before taking up this new role, Klemen Bergant was at the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) where he was the Director of the Meteorological Office from 2006 to 2017 and then Director of the Meteorology and Hydrology Office from 2017 to 2020.

During his time at ARSO, he was a permanent representative of Slovenia with the WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and the Slovenian delegate at EUMETSAT (www.eumetsat.int) and ECMWF (www.ecmwf.int) Councils.

He also represented ARSO at the EUMETNET and ECOMET (www.ecomet.eu) Assemblies as well as in the ALADIN consortium for limited-area modelling and its Central European subgroup RC-LACE. He was EUMETNET Assembly’s Vice-Chair (2009 – 2013) and Chair (2013 – 2015), Chair of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee (2013 – 2015), and Chair of the EUMETNET’s Governance Task Team (2009 – 2010) that proposed the current structure of EUMETNET.

 

“Through the cooperation of national meteorological services with atmospheric and ocean observations in remote areas, efficient exchange and dissemination of data, coordination of forecasting and warnings, EUMETNET also helps its members to address the challenges of extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change.“ K. Bergant

Before joining the Slovenian Environment Agency, he was Head of the Centre for Atmospheric Research at the University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia, where he is still Adjunct Professor of Meteorology.

AutoPollen featuring in the EAACI Weekly Highlights report

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The EUMETNET AutoPollen activity was featured in a report made at the Annual Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – see link to report below:

Article “A new era…”

 

EUMETNET convection-permitting ensemble database hosted at ECMWF

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An archive of convection-permitting limited-area model ensembles of European countries has been established at ECMWF, as part of the cooperation within the SRNWP–EPS (Short-Range Numerical Weather Prediction – Ensemble Prediction System) project of EUMETNET…

For further information click on the link below:

https://www.ecmwf.int/en/newsletter/166/news/eumetnet-convection-permitting-ensemble-database-hosted-ecmwf

 

Saharan dust outbreak as observed by the E-PROFILE network

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Click on the image to see the animation showing the dust plume over Europe

 

 

Over the weekend a strong outbreak of Saharan dust affected large regions of Europe and lead to number of photos as seen in Figure 1 with red-coloured skies and dramatically decreased visibility. Such conditions were observed by many ALC’s (Automatic lidars and ceilometers) in the E-PROFILE network, as illustrated in Figure 2. The origin of the air is clearly Saharian as indicated by the back-trajectories in Figure 3.

Dense 24/7 networks such as E-PROFILE are an ideal tool to monitor the horizontal, vertical and temporal distribution of aerosols and prove extremely useful to assess the situation in such events. This is illustrated by Figures 4-6 which indicate how the dust plume moved over Europe. It was located over Spain on 05 February before gradually moving towards the North and East during 06 and 07 February. This is a showcase for Saharan dust mixed into the boundary layer, but such a monitoring is possible for any aerosol type at any tropospheric altitude.

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Fig.1 Strong limitation in visibility and atmosphere in reddish colours in the Swiss prealps. Picture taken by Alexander Haefele in the afternoon of 06 February 2021.

 

 

 

 

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Fig.2 Attenuated back scatter observed on 06 Feb by the E-PROFILE ALC in Bern, Switzerland, in proximity to the location of the picture in Figure 1. A massive intrusion of Saharan dust reaching the boundary layer in the late morning can be observed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fig.3 Back-trajectories arriving in Bern, Switzerland on 06 Feb 12:00 for different altitudes. They clearly indicate the Saharan origin of the airmass. Data from HYSPLIT accessible at www.ready.noaa.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fig.4 Overview of attenuated backscatter profiles observed on 05 Feb at several central-European stations. The area delimited by the orange line denotes the area where high dust concentrations were observed. Interactive view at: https://e-profile.eu/#/?currentView=CMProfile&measurementDate=2021-02-05&QLSize=70

 

 

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Fig. 5: Overview of attenuated backscatter profiles observed on 06 Feb at several central-European stations The area delimited by the orange and blue lines denote the area where high dust concentrations were observed during the morning and the afternoon, respectively. Interactive view at: https://e-profile.eu/#/?currentView=CMProfile&measurementDate=2021-02-06&QLSize=70

 

 

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Fig. 6: Overview of attenuated backscatter profiles observed on 07 Feb at several central-European stations. The area delimited by the orange line denotes the area where high dust concentrations were observed. Interactive view at: https://e-profile.eu/#/?currentView=CMProfile&measurementDate=2021-02-07&QLSize=70

 

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More images of the phenomenon in the Swiss Alps near Grand Saint-Bernard

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ECMWF Virtual Science & technology seminar

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ECMWF Virtual Science and technology seminar on Aircraft data, Covid-19 and global weather forecasting will take place on Wednesday 20th January 2021.

For further details, please see the link below:

https://events.ecmwf.int/event/230/

Free webinar by EUMETNET & SESAR Deployment Manager

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Free webinar on “New Pan-European Weather Information to Support Aviation” held on 29th October.

To register and for further information please click here

 

Apple standard weather app & EUMETNET

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With its new update to iOS 14, Apple’s standard weather app now attributes EUMETNET and Meteoalarm as its source.

The app uses the Weather Channel, a company owned by IBM, whose weather systems use the Meteoalarm feeds.

   

Collaborative Forecasting for Aviation in Europe

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Once again, this year, Operational Meteorologists at 12 national MET Providers will be taking part in the European Cross Border Weather Advisory procedure for EUROCONTROL Network Manager. The EUMETNET members producing the daily forecast output provides clear, and internationally consistent, information regarding the severity and probability of convective weather across the forecast domain; which has expanded further for 2020 and encompasses some of the busiest routes and sectors in Europe.

The procedure’s primary goal aims to increase EUROCONTROL Network Manager’s (NM) and participating ANSP’s (Airspace Navigation Providers) awareness of potentially significant convection that could disrupt the European Aviation network within the next 12 to 36 hours to support operational decision makers’ effective and efficient management of the network. However, this year, the cross-border weather procedure will also play an important role in ensuring that the recovery from COVID-19 is as delay free as possible. Traditionally weather is one of the major causes of capacity reduction across wide areas of the aviation network, so a collaborative approach to weather management will be vital to ensure its impact is reduced as much as possible as air traffic begins to increase.

Cumulonimbus (CB) clouds are the main meteorological phenomena that this forecast focuses on, primarily as CB clouds can be used as a proxy for possible ‘weather avoidance’. Weather avoidance is the unplanned movement or deviation off the original flight plan requested at short notice by pilots as a result of ‘weather’ ahead. The reason that pilots would want to avoid these cloud types is due to the hazardous conditions associated within them (e.g. severe turbulence, downdraughts, icing and lightning). Multiple avoidance requests will lead to additional workload and complexity for air traffic controllers, who are then unable to safely handle the ‘normal’ amount of traffic, and capacity of the airspace is affected. This ultimately can lead to the implementation of decisions and measures to help mitigate against this by ANSPs.

The service this year has a delayed start of 1 June (due to COVID-19) and will  run until to the end of September 2020.

Example of a forecast

Forecast domain