Original paper

WHITE – Winter hazards in terminal environment: An automated nowcasting system for Munich Airport

Keis, Felix

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 24 No. 1 (2015), p. 61 - 82

46 references

published: Mar 13, 2015
published online: Jan 13, 2015
manuscript accepted: Oct 27, 2014
manuscript revision received: Oct 24, 2014
manuscript revision requested: Oct 22, 2014
manuscript received: Sep 24, 2014

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2014/0651

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Winter weather is a decisive factor affecting the daily course of action at airports and causing delays or even safety hazards. Snow covered or iced aerodrome movement areas or aircraft require an initiation of counteractions on time. In order to minimize economic loss and to maintain safety, winter weather situations within an investigation area around an airport have to be detected and forecasted as precisely as possible. At the Department of Transport Meteorology of the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) Institute of Atmospheric Physics the winter weather nowcasting system WHITE (Winter Hazards In Terminal Environment) has been developed kindly supported by Munich Airport operations. Designed as an automated system WHITE assimilates multiple real-time data sources and assesses problematic winter weather aspects like the differentiation between snow and liquid precipitation, the identification of freezing precipitation and icing plus the rating of surface conditions. The innovative approach of WHITE, combining critical parameters for different predefined winter weather scenarios by means of Fuzzy Logic, classifying hazardous regions and generating winter weather objects, enables the determination of precipitation type and hazard's intensity. By nowcasting the current situation over a period of two hours it is also possible to estimate the beginning and the duration of hazardous conditions within the investigation area. In addition to the nowcasting system a participatory sensing approach is integrated within WHITE as a second main issue. The idea of this user-centered approach is based on the recent spread of high-capacity sensor-equipped mobile phones and the pervasive willingness of using the devices. Performance optimization, output evaluation and simplified handling with the system's output are the benefits resulting from the participatory sensing approach. In this work the basics, the data sources and development of the nowcasting system and of the participatory sensing approach are described. Additionally the results of two test campaigns during the winter months of 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 are shown and the system's capability is demonstrated with the help of significant case studies.


winter weathernowcasting systemfuzzy logicairportparticipatory sensing