Original paper

Aircraft route forecasting under adverse weather conditions

Hauf, Thomas; Hupe, Patrick; Sauer, Manuela; Rokitansky, Carl-Herbert; Lang, Jürgen; Sacher, Daniel; Chan, Pak Wai; Sakiew, Ludmila

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 26 No. 2 (2017), p. 189 - 206

30 references

published: Apr 25, 2017
published online: Nov 3, 2016
manuscript accepted: Jul 15, 2016
manuscript revision received: Jul 4, 2016
manuscript revision requested: May 24, 2016
manuscript received: Mar 1, 2016

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2016/0786

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Abstract

In this paper storm nowcasts in the terminal manoeuvring area (TMA) of Hong Kong International Airport are used to forecast deviation routes through a field of storms for arriving and departing aircraft. Storms were observed and nowcast by the nowcast system SWIRLS from the Hong Kong Observatory. Storms were considered as no-go zones for aircraft and deviation routes were determined with the DIVSIM software package. Two days (21 and 22 May 2011) with 22 actual flown routes were investigated. Flights were simulated with a nowcast issued at the time an aircraft entered the TMA or departed from the airport. These flights were compared with a posteriori simulations, in which all storm fields were known and circumnavigated. Both types of simulated routes were then compared with the actual flown routes. The qualitative comparison of the various routes revealed generally good agreement. Larger differences were found in more complex situations with many active storms in the TMA. Route differences resulted primarily from air traffic control measures imposed such as holdings, slow-downs and shortcuts, causing the largest differences between the estimated and actual landing time. Route differences could be enhanced as aircraft might be forced to circumnavigate a storm ahead in a different sense. The use of route forecasts to assist controllers coordinating flights in a complex moving storm field is discussed. The study emphasises the important application of storm nowcasts in aviation meteorology.

Keywords

route forecastingadverse weatherstorm nowcastarrival management