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