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Meteorological services to aviation


  • pg 1
									                                Reprint 827

                  Meteorological Services to Aviation

  C.M. Shun, Ian Lisk(1), Carr McLeod(2) & Kevin L. Johnston(3)

       WMO Bulletin, Vol. 58, No. 2, p. 94-103, April 2009

(1) Met Office, UK; Chair of the CAeM Expert Team on Education and Training
(2) President, CAeM
(3) US Federal Aviation Administration; Chair of the CAeM Expert Team on New
    Terminal Weather Forecast
Meteorological services to
by Chi Ming Shun1, Ian Lisk2, Carr McLeod3 and Kevin L. Johnston4

Introduction                               Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)               and WMO works with National
                                           as an agency of the United Nations               Meteorological Services (NMSs)
                                           and provided the mechanism for                   to deliver these services. Since the
   Wilbur also requested and               international agreement on all                   responsibilities are shared, Annex 3 is
   scrutinized US Weather Bureau           issues related to civil aviation.                duplicated mutatis mutandis as a WMO
   data, and selected Kitty Hawk           The Convention has 18 annexes                    publication (WMO-No. 49, Volume II),
   after writing to the government         establishing standards for areas                 approved by the WMO Executive
   meteorologist stationed there.          such as air traffic control, navigation          Council. Amendments to ICAO Annex
                                           s y s t e m s a n d c o m mu n i c a t i o n s   3/WMO-No. 49 are introduced every
Thus began a relationship between          systems. Important to meteorologists             three years and have to be approved
aviators and meteorologists in the         is Annex 3—Meteorological Service                by the Councils of ICAO and WMO.
lead-up to the first controlled powered    for International Air Navigation.                Fundamental changes, however,
flight by Wilbur and Orville Wright                                                         require deliberation by the conjoint
in 1903.                                   WMO became a specialized agency                  sessions of the ICAO Meteorological
                                           of the United Nations in 1951. ICAO              Division and the WMO Commission
The next 50 years saw incredible           and WMO soon established working                 for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM),
advanc es in the te chnology of            arrangements that set out who does               with these conjoint sessions typically
aviation and in the development            what when it comes to meteorological             held once every decade.
of meteorology as a science. By            services to aviation. The relationship is
the late 1930s, air travel between         conceptually simple: ICAO establishes            For all NMSs, aviation is more than
countries was becoming feasible. It        the requirements for meteorological              just another client requiring weather
rapidly became clear that support          services to international aviation and           services. Part of the arrangements
and standardization were needed            WMO establishes how to meet these                between aviation and meteorology is
to ensure the safe operation of            requirements and sets standards for              the well-established and internationally
international flights. The year 1944       service delivery.                                coordinated practice of cost recovery
saw the drafting of the Convention                                                          for services rendered. This can be
on International Civil Aviation (see       The international aviation user                  a controversial issue, although the
box opposite, which was eventually         organizations (the International                 importance of serving aviation and
ratified by a sufficient number of         A ir Transp or t A s so ciation, the             recovering costs for those services
nations to come into effect in 1947.       International Federation of Air Line             should not be underestimated. In
                                           Pilots’ Associations, the European               some cases, aviation provides up to
Bet ter known as the Chicago               Regions Airline Association, etc.)               80 per cent of the budget of small
Convention, it created the International   communicate their needs to ICAO                  NMSs, so the aviation client deserves
                                                                                            to be well served.

1 Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong, China; vice-president, WMO Commission for               As noted, the arrangements are
  Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM)                                                           simple in concept. What follows will
2 Met Office, UK; Chair of the CAeM Expert Team on Education and Training
3 President, CAeM                                                                           help to show some of the complexities
4 US Federal Aviation Administration; Chair of the CAeM Expert Team on New Terminal         in the details of service to aviation
  Weather Forecast                                                                          and some emerging issues brought

94 | WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009
                                                                                         for managing the quality of any service
  Preamble to the Convention on                                                          delivered. Continuous improvement
                                                                                         and development of the service to suit
  International Civil Aviation                                                           the evolving needs of the users are

  (the Chicago Convention) of 1947                                                       also key to the success of the NMS
                                                                                         in an increasingly competitive global
  WHEREAS the future development of international civil aviation can
  greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among                 In many countries, liaison groups
  the nations and peoples of the world, yet its abuse can become a threat to             and industr y forums have been
  the general security; and                                                              established by weather services to
                                                                                         foster the relationship with airlines,
  WHEREAS it is desirable to avoid friction and to promote that cooperation              pilots, general aviation stakeholders,
  between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world                          dispatchers and ramp operators.
  depends;                                                                               Apart from covering the standard
                                                                                         services specified by ICAO Annex 3/
  THEREFORE, the undersigned governments having agreed on certain                        WMO-No. 49, close liaison with
  principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be          users can identify the user’s need for
  developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport            customized and value-added services,
  services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and                driving further development of the
  operated soundly and economically;                                                     local aviation weather information
                                                                                         delivery (see box overleaf), as well
  Have accordingly concluded this Convention to that end.                                as international developments of new
                                                                                         aviation weather services.

                                                                                         Evolving users
about by changes in the aviation            directly with the airlines and airport
industry and advances in the science        authorities. Irrespective of the model       With the significant increase in
of meteorology.                             adopted, it is imperative for the            air traf fic over various regions
                                            NMS to establish close coordination          in the past decade, demands for
Client focus                                arrangements with the CA A .                 increasing consultations and new
                                                                                         t ypes of weather products (see
                                                                                         “Developing services” above) by the
Civil Aviation Authorities                  Airlines and pilots
                                                                                         airport management and air traffic
The national Civil Aviation Authority       Being the end-users of the weather           management (ATM) stakeholders are
(CA A) or, in some cases, the air           ser vices for flight planning and            increasing. This has become a critical
navigation service provider, is a           operations, it goes without saying           issue for the major regional hubs in
primary user of weather services,           that the airlines and pilots should be       Europe, North America and Asia.
ensuring efficient flight operations        the focus of user liaison for any NMS.       Provision of added-value services to
and aviation safety. Many NMSs are          Customer satisfaction surveys and            assist in decision-making and advance
also designated as the meteorological       users’ feedback are essential drivers        planning to mitigate the disruption of
authority and are thus responsible
for regulating the provision of
weather services for international
air navigation. There is an increasing
trend in some regions for the CAA or
a similar authority to also take up the
regulatory role for the weather service
provision, as well as setting the level
of service and the cost to be recovered
by the NMS for delivery. In some
other countries, the NMS, being the
designated meteorological authority,
enjoys a parallel and direct relationship
with the other sectors of the aviation
community, with service provision           Liaison groups and industry forums promote relationships with aviation users and gather
and cost recovery closely coordinated       important customer feedback.

                                                                                              WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009 | 95
  Aviation Meteorological Information Dissemination System
  The Aviation Meteorological Information Dissemination System (AMIDS), a Web-based information delivery system
  operated by the Hong Kong Observatory, China, for airlines, pilots, despatchers, ramp operators and general aviation,
  saw an almost 10-fold increase in usage in the past decade (see chart), during which air traffic volume increased by
  about 80 per cent. Apart from the introduction of ICAO-specified products, such as the digital forecasts of World
  Area Forecast System , the significant increase in aviation weather information usage was related to the demand by
  users for local weather information, such as weather radar, local winds and, more recently, lightning information and
  thunderstorm nowcasting products. AMIDS has also been developed into a platform for prototyping international
  demonstration projects and collecting user’s feedback from the aviation community.

                                           60 000
        Average number of visits per day

                                           50 000

                                           40 000

                                           30 000

                                           20 000

                                           10 000

                                                    1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

      Aviation weather information usage in Hong Kong shows
      significant growth at a rate higher than air traffic growth.

                                                                                                               Aviation-weather Disaster Risk Reduction pilot project
                                                                                                               Web page showing a probabilistic forecast of a tropical

operations by high-impact weather                                                       be appended to METAR messages for          by an aircraft-in-flight. A PIREP is
such as tropical cyclones, winter                                                       selected aerodromes to indicate any        usually generated when a potentially
snowstorms and icing is increasingly                                                    significant changes expected in the        hazardous weather phenomenon is
welcomed by airlines, ATM and airport                                                   two hours immediately following the        encountered, for example, severe
management.                                                                             time of the report.                        aircraft icing, turbulence or wind
Current services                                                                        METARs are produced by staff trained
                                                                                        in accordance with WMO Aeronautical        METARs and PIREPs are used by
                                                                                        Meteorological Obser ver (AMO)             meteorologists, pilots, Air Traffic
                                                                                        guidelines. Most AMOs are meteo-           Control staff and flight dispatchers
A ir f i e l d we a t h e r o b s e r va tion s                                         rological support staff, although there    for the purposes of monitoring, flight
(meteorological aerodrome reports)                                                      has been an increasing tendency for        planning and safety.
routinely provide aviation-critical                                                     this role to be fulfilled by Air Traffic
weather information using the concise                                                   Control (ATC) operations staff and,
and easy-to-interpret METAR code                                                        more recently, by technologically
format. Reports of significant changes                                                  advanced automatic weather
in the weather that take place in                                                       observing equipment.                       The aviation se c tor is a major
between routine observations are also                                                                                              me te or olo gi c al c u s tom e r an d,
reported as Special Weather Reports                                                     METARs are supplemented by PIREP           historically, most of the developments
in the SPECI code format. A two-hour                                                    reports. These are pilot reports of the    made in forecasting have been for
forecast known as a “TREND” can also                                                    actual weather conditions encountered      the improvement of meteorological

96 | WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009
                                                                                                       Volcanic Ash Advisor y Centres,
                                                                                                       which form part of the International
                                                                                                       Airways Volcanic Watch, and six
                                                                                                       Tropical Cyclone Advisory Centres.
                                                                                                       These centres support the timely
                                                                                                       provision of SIGMETs of volcanic
                                                                                                       ash and tropical cyclones by the
                                                                                                       Meteorological Watch Offices.

                                                                                                       Appropriate training and ongoing
                                                                                                       maintenance of skills and knowledge
                                                                                                       of personnel providing aviation
                                                                                                       weather ser vices are facilitated
Thomas Lener

                                                                                                       by WMO through the CAeM
                                                                                                       Exper t Team on Educ ation and
                                                                                                       Training (http://w w w.caem.wmo.
               Winter snowstorms bring disruptions to major airports every year.
                                                                                                       Flight planning
               services to aviation. Advances in            is evident in the range and scope of the
               technology and aircraf t design,             forecasts they produce. For example,       ICAO, in coordination with WMO, has
               together with the relentless drive           an Aerodrome Meteorological Office         established the World Area Forecast
               for ever more ef ficient and safe            forecaster will focus on aerodrome         System (WAFS) with two designated
               op era tions, have re sul ted in a           warnings and forecasts that are            centres for providing specialist
               requirement for increasingly                 vital for flight safety, such as the       global aviation weather services.
               accurate, varied and cus tomer-              Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF).         World Area Forecast Centre (WAFC)
               focused meteorological products              A Meteorological Watch Forecaster,         London and WAFC Washington are
               and services, particularly for the first     meanwhile, has responsibilities for        responsible for producing global
               36 hours of the forecast period.             national and/or regional forecasts         aviation wind, temperature and
                                                            and for generating SIGMETs/AIRMETs         significant weather forecasts in
               Aeronautical Meteorological                  for warning of hazardous en-route          support of flight planning, mainly for
               Forecasters are qualified and trained        aviation weather.                          flights above 24 000 feet. Equipped
               in accordance with WMO guidelines                                                       with satellite reception systems
               and the challenge that they face daily       ICAO, in coordination with WMO,            and/or access to Internet service,
               in weather monitoring and forecasting        has established nine designated            aerodrome meteorological offices
                                                                                                       are able to receive the WAFS digital
                                                                                                       forecast products for compilation
                                                                                                       of flight documents and provision
                                                                                                       of wea ther informa tion to sui t
                                                                                                       the requirements of airlines and
                                                                                                       flight crews in flight planning and

                                                                                                       Traditionally, aircrew received face-
                                                                                                       to-face briefings during which the
                                                                                                       fore c as ter would highlight any
                                                                                                       flight-safety issues expected during
                                                                                                       the proposed flight. In the light of
                                                                                                       economic constraints and logistical
                                                                                                       reasons, however, the norm has
                                                                                                       increasingly become for aircrew
                                                                                                       to self-brief using either Internet-
                                                                                                       based briefing services or using
                                                                                                       d o c um e n t a tion r e tr i eve d f r o m
                                                                                                       Web -based ser ver s or sent via
               A typical aerodrome meteorological observation system                                   facsimile.

                                                                                                            WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009 | 97
                                                                                            anemome ter- based wind shear
                                                                                            detec tion sys tems in the 1970 s
                                                                                            and radar-based systems in the

                                                                                            Another recent thrust of weather
                                                                                            service development for aviation
                                                                                            has also taken advantage of the
                                                                                            availability of weather radar and
                                                                                            lightning-detection networks and
                                                                                            advanced nowcasting techniques
                                                                                            for shor t-term predic tion of
                                                                                            thund er s tor m move me n t , thu s
                                                                                            mitigating the impact of weather in
                                                                                            disrupting air traffic management
                                                                                            and airline op er a tion s a t bu s y
                                                                                            aviation hubs and airspace. Further
                                                                                            discussion on this new terminal
                                                                                            forecast development will follow
                                                                                            in the next section.

                                                                                            The advances of NWP techniques
                                                                                            and computational power have
                                                                                            also brought significant benefits
                                                                                            to the industry with the accuracy of
                                                                                            predicted flight times achieving the
                                                                                            order of minutes nowadays, thanks
Volcanic ash is a major hazard to aviation.                                                 to the continuous reduction of the

Telecommunications                            Advances in techniques
                                              and quality of services
Operational aeronautical meteoro-
logical data (OPMET), including               In the pas t c ouple of de c ade s,
METARs, TAFs and SIGMETs/AIR-                 advances in remote-sensing and
METs, are disseminated in real-time           new obser vation techniques,
over ICAO-approved regional and               including meteorological satellites,
global tele c ommunic a tion ne t-            weather radars, lightning detection
works, such as the Aeronautical               net works, aircraf t obser vations
Fixed Telecommunications Net-                 (AMDAR) and numerical weather
work. The associated international            prediction (NWP) have offered great
coding protocols and formats are              opportunities for enhancing weather
agreed between ICAO and WMO                   services, especially for aviation.
working groups.                               Using the example of automatic
                                              low-level wind shear alerting, the
WAFS products are disseminated                emergence of the Doppler Light
by satellite as part of the dedicated         Detec tion and Ranging (LIDAR)
ICAO Aeronautical Fixed Service,              technology has made it feasible
u tilizing the Uni te d K ingdom’s            for wea ther s er v i c e s to d e te c t
Satellite Distribution System                 hazardous wind shear induced by
(SADIS) and the US International              complex terrain under non-rainy
Satellite Communications System.              c on di tion s an d i s s u e al e r t s to
Increased use is also being made of           aircraft automatically. This has gone
the ICAO-approved SADIS, Internet-            a long way in enhancing aviation              High-level SIGWX forecast from WAFC
based ftp service.                            safet y since the introduction of             London

98 | WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009
upper-air wind fore c as t error s.
W i th the in creas ed availabilit y
of high-resolution NWP forecast
products on global, regional and
local scales, better support of air
t r a f f i c man a g e m e n t an d f ligh t
operations, such as the introduction
of airport approach sequencing and
fuel-saving flight trajectories, can
be expected.

Developing services

To meet the needs of air traf fic
management to improve safet y
and efficiency of air traffic, a WMO
Expert Team is working with ICAO
to develop a new terminal forecast
(NTF) product. It is envisaged that
this product will provide forecasts of
weather elements critical to aviation
in the terminal area* with much
finer resolution in space (to include
vertical domain) and time compared to
traditional aviation products such as
the terminal area forecast and various
WAFS products.

The new terminal forecast will be
produced in a digital, gridded format,
initially being available as a Web-
based graphic in the 2013 time frame.
At this time, the product will include
forecasts of convection, winds, low
ceiling and visibilit y and winter
weather. Further out in time (by about
2018), other elements important to
aviation and the environment will be
included, such as icing, turbulence,
wake vortices, noise abatement and
air quality. In addition, probabilistic          Face-to-face briefings (above) are increasingly being replaced by self-briefings, using
attributes of the various weather                automated systems (below).
elements will be included. The new
terminal forecast will be a critical
component to ongoing worldwide                   USA and Europe, respectively. These           cockpit by uplink will be particularly
activities to develop future air traffic         future ATM systems will integrate             crucial in achieving this.
mana g e m e n t s y s te m s s u c h a s        weather information with aircraft
NextGen and SESAR activities in the              and other operational information             Several Member s are involved
                                                 to provide pilots, dispatchers and            in the development of the new
                                                 controllers with a common operating           terminal forecast and plans are being
* The terminal area is defined as that portion   picture that will increase efficiency         developed to prototype the first phase
of the airspace within the proximity of a        and, at the same time, reduce the             of the product in 2009-2010. A Website
controlled aerodrome within which arriving
                                                 impact of aviation on the environment.        (ht tp://w w w.ntf.weather.gov.hk / )
and departing aircraft are managed to provide
separation, assurance, appropriate arrival       Pilots’ ability to receive the weather        has been developed to facilitate this
spacing, appropriate departure spacing and       information, in both tex tual and             development and evaluation of the
final approach sequencing.                       graphical format, directly in the             prototypes by aviation users.

                                                                                                     WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009 | 99

A primar y focus of the aviation
indus tr y is s afe and e c onomic
operations and, in terms of the
delivery of aviation weather services,
this is underpinned by the quality
of the products (and forecasts, in
particular) provided.

An internationally recognized strategy
to improve service delivery has been
the implementation of a quality-
management system (QMS). The
adoption of a QMS approach to the
delivery of aviation weather services
has been on ICAO’s agenda for several
years and, more recently, that of WMO
through its Intercommission Task
Team on the Quality Management
Framework.                                Schematic diagram of LIDAR wind shear alerting system

ICAO and WMO s tandards and
recommended practices for the             the United Republic of Tanzania and        weather ser vices has a positive
delivery of aviation weather services     also development of methodologies          impact on the NMS that translates
will, with effect from 2010, call on      for forecast verification.                 into significant safety and economic
States/Members to implement a                                                        benefits for the aviation industry.
properly organized quality system         The adoption of QMS principles
which should be in conformity with        as a framework for the delivery of
the International Organization for        aviation weather services of fers
Standardization (ISO) 9000 series of      significant value-added benefits to        Challenges in the
quality assurance standards.              NMSs and, in turn, to the aviation         provision of aviation
                                          industry, not least because two of
Although ISO certification                the key underlying principles are          meteorological services
requirement will likely remain a          continual improvement and customer
recommendation in 2010, there             relations. For example, the systematic
                                                                                     Efficiency of services
is already an intrinsic desire            verification and evaluation of aviation
embedded in the majority of NMSs          forecasts provides a mechanism for
to continually improve the quality of     the ongoing improvement of aviation        Aviation has been feeling the effects
the products and services it provides     service provision in terms of quality,     of the economic and political crises
to the aviation industry. The aviation    timeliness and customer focus.             and has become a focus of attention
industr y is highly regulated and                                                    as an economic sector that is both
adoption of a QMS framework and,          It is also of note that NMSs that          contributing and exposed to all facets
in par ticular, the achievement of        have recently undergone an ICAO            of climate change. Significant efforts
certification under the ISO 9001:2000     Universal Safety Oversight Audit           to reduce costs within the airline
Qualit y Management Standard,             Programme (USOAP) have found               industry have triggered demands for
therefore sits well within the aviation   tha t their quali t y- manage men t        comparable measures on the side of
environment. WMO has been                 initiatives and in par ticular             service providers to aviation, from air
proactive in assisting Members’           certification under ISO 9001:2000,         traffic services, airports and ancillary
implement QMS through the                 have not only complemented the             services to aviation meteorology.
sponsoring of several QMS seminars,       USOAP but assisted in ensuring             NMSs thus have the difficult task of
publication of a selection of QMS         their success in meeting the               demonstrating that their net benefit
guides (available at http://www.wmo.      demands of these audits.                   in terms of reduced operating and
int /pages /prog / w w w/QMF-Web/                                                    planning costs, environmental impact
Documentation.html), establishment        The adoption of a quality-management       and passenger/crew safet y and
of a QMS demonstration project in         approach to the delivery of aviation       comfort outweighs the cost they are

100 | WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009
                                                                                                   adapting and responding to these

                                                                                                   •   Coordinate the development of
                                                                                                       new ATM-oriented products and
                                                                                                       the exchange of know-how with
                                                                                                       all Members through the work
                                                                                                       of the Expert Team on the New
                                                                                                       Terminal Forecast (see section
                                                                                                       “Advances in techniques and
                                                                                                       quality of services” above);

                                                                                                   •   Develop jointly with the aviation
                                                                                                       community and ICAO ways to
                                                                                                       gather, use and disseminate
                                                                                                       meteorological information to
                                                                                                       minimize the burning of fuel,
                                                                                                       c ar b on diox id e ou t p u t an d
                                                                                                       contrails/cirrus generation to
                                                                                                       mitigate the effects of climate
Rapid air traffic growth in various regions in the past decade has increased the                       change;
vulnerability of air traffic management to disruption by weather.
                                                                                                   •   Ensure, through the work of
                                                                                                       dedicated exper t teams, that
                                                                                                       Members have access to current
charging to the industry, the taxpayers            meteorological offices in order to                  training material and curricula to
or any combination thereof.                        maintain close customer relations                   ensure proper qualification of staff,
                                                   with air traffic management, airline,               that they operate a recognized
As part of the air traffic services chain,         pilo t and air p or t mana g e me n t               quality-management system,
NMSs are affected by a wide-spread                 users.                                              again by using snowballing
trend to restructure airspace to larger                                                                and exchange of guidance and
units. They need to find their optimal             Three main strategies are employed by               documentation, and that they have
“niche” between globalized products,               the WMO Aeronautical Meteorology                    access to guidance on customer
e.g. those provided by WAFS, national              Programme to assist Members in                      relations and consultation.
and regional warning services such as
SIGMET/AIRMET and low-level graphic
products of significant weather, and
the emerging aerodrome-oriented
specialized products for such diverse
questions as wake vortex predictions
and dedicated warnings of lightning or
snow/freezing precipitation, for which
commercial providers are increasingly
offering bespoke services.

The world of aeronautical meteo-
rological service delivery is changing
and many of the developing and
s m a ll e r n a t i o n s a r e f in d in g i t
increasingly dif ficult to keep up
with the pace of technology and
change. In response to the relentless
drive from the aviation customer
to increase efficiency, some NMSs
have opted to centralize their aviation
forecast production, whilst others                 The ability of pilots to receive weather information uplinked to the cockpit will be crucial
have preferred to retain their airport             to achieving a common operating picture among all aviation stakeholders.

                                                                                                       WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009 | 101
Flexibility will be key to continued
service provision in an economic
environment characterized by rapidly
changing conditions. Fuel prices,
emissions-trading schemes emerging
in some regions and environmental
restrictions at some airports all result
in the need to maintain close liaison
between all stakeholders so that
services can be quickly adapted to
changing constraints.

The traditional global consultation
process on the basic requirements for
services to aviation driven by ICAO
in cooperation with IATA and WMO,
involving many levels of decision-
making bodies, may prove to be a           Thunderstorms are a major weather element that needs to be addressed by the new
little slow in responding to such rapid    terminal forecast.
changes and will benefit from more
informal additional arrangements for
rapidly evolving requirements.             common standards are adhered to                      economies of scale are always to
                                           and grand plans are subjected to                     be considered a prime option. The
NMSs will also need to consider            a reality check in all areas and at                  development of new techniques
carefully which services they can          different levels of development!                     i nvo l v i n g c o m p l ex a n d c o s t l y
offer themselves under a commercial                                                             technology on a purely national
agreement, and where specialized                                                                basis may not bear economic scrutiny
contractors from the private sector
                                           Regional and global                                  for many smaller and developing
may be able to provide expertise           cooperation in the provision                         countries but, even for larger NMSs,
and services in cooperation with           of services to aviation                              cooperation with partners in the
the NMS. On the other hand, only                                                                same region, a leading research
global coordination will ensure that       When it comes to ef ficient and                      and development institution or an
duplication of efforts is avoided,         e f f e c ti ve d e li ve r y of s e r v i c e s ,   industrial partner may be the best
                                                                                                way to achieve results fast, affordably
                                                                                                and compliant with international
                                                                                                standards of quality and integrity.

                                                                                                Historically, regional air navigation
                                                                                                service alliances such as Eurocontrol
                                                                                                for western and central/south-eastern
                                                                                                Europe or the Agency for Air Safety
                                                                                                in Africa and Madagascar have
                                                                                                driven enhanced cooperation in their
                                                                                                area of influence, especially among
                                                                                                providers of meteorological services.
                                                                                                The challenge of congested air space
                                                                                                has accelerated the integration of
                                                                                                services across national boundaries
                                                                                                or agencies and undertakings such
                                                                                                as NextGen (Next Generation Air
                                                                                                Transport System) in the USA or
                                                                                                SESAR (Single European Sky ATM
                                                                                                Research) in Europe are setting de
                                                                                                facto standards in service delivery
                                                                                                that will require other regions to
                                                                                                collaborate closely if they do not
Prototype NTF products under development                                                        wish to become marginalized by

102 | WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009
                                                                                        smaller and developing countr y
                                                                                        Members can benefit from techniques
                                                                                        and products generated on a regional
                                                                                        basis for national applications (see
                                                                                        sample product tailored for Lao
                                                                                        People’s Democratic Republic to the


                                                                                        The relationship between aviation
                                                                                        and meteorology spans more than a
                                                                                        century. Serving aviation was the single
                                                                                        most important factor in the formation
                                                                                        of NMSs. This long-standing and
                                                                                        successful relationship is comfortable
                                                                                        but perhaps consequently dangerous.
                                                                                        Newer and fresher issues continue
                                                                                        to grab the attention of decision-
                                                                                        makers and bureaucrats. There is a
                                                                                        need, however, to continue to focus
TAF guidance for four Lao airports provided by the Asian Aviation Meteorology Website   on maintaining and continuously
(http://www.aamets.org/)                                                                improving meteorological service
                                                                                        to this important client.

such large regional blocks and see           agreements needed as “single voice
their traffic from and to such regions       of meteorology” in such regional
jeopardized.                                 undertakings, and laudable pilot
                                             projects such as the Asian Aviation
NMSs are thus in the process of              Meteorology Website (http://www.
forming alliances and cooperation            aamets.org/) are examples of how

                                                                                            WMO Bulletin 58 (2) - April 2009 | 103

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