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Requirement/Benefit Definition Study Leading to 4-D Meteorological Databases Linked Across Europe



Requirement/Benefit Definition Study Leading to 4-D Meteorological Databases Linked Across Europe

Background & policy context: 

Forecasts of wind in the upper atmosphere are used quantitatively for

flight planning. The calculated flight times are derived directly from the

numerical wind data, together with route and aircraft information.

Existing studies show that considerable benefits would stem from higher

accuracy of weather forecasting, such as the opportunity to carry a

smaller contingency of fuel on board an aircraft (reducing fuel use).


The objective of the 4MIDABLE project was to specify the requirements for

the meteorological aspects of operational prediction of future aircraft

position, in four dimensions. Both short-term prediction (20 minutes

ahead) and longer term forecasting were addressed, including air traffic

flow management issues. The main aspects of weather under consideration

were wind, anti-icing, fog and severe convective clouds.

Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding:
Key Results: 

For the current accuracy of wind forecasting, the project found that results varied with the:

  • range of forecast (the shorter the better);
  • altitude of interest (the lower the better);
  • geographical area (Europe better than North Atlantic);
  • length of sector (the longer the better).

The project concluded that the use of site-specific models for forecasting, icing, visibility and cloud base is in its infancy. The technique requires more R&D before it can be implemented operationally or used for making decisions about observational requirements.

Policy implications

These can be summarised as follows:

Work is needed on the causes of aviation accidents in Europe, to establish how many have been weather related and which factors were the most critical. Future studies should focus on meteorological parameters in isolation. That is, the effect of wind and the effect of temperature on aircraft would be two separate studies. For all meteorological effects, future studies should evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of improved detection and prediction.



Contact Name: 
Mr R Lunnon
Contact Email: 
Meteorological Office, Ministry of Defence
London Road Brackne
RG12 2SZ
Contact country: