WMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have agreed to work more closely together, including on the planned establishment of an operational space weather service for international air navigation.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas met with Dr Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO, on 28 April to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between national meteorological and hydrological services and civil aviation administrations.
“Recognizing our long-standing history of excellent cooperation and collaboration, we agreed on the need to strengthen further this partnership in meeting new challenges, such as contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” they said in a joint statement.
“Both organizations have their roles in addressing environmental and climate change issues, thus a closer coordination and information and knowledge sharing will be strongly encouraged for a mutual benefit.”
Mr Taalas and Ms Liu discussed the rapid development of the aviation industry and ICAO’s vision for a globally interoperable, harmonized air traffic management system. Given the anticipated future growth in air traffic, WMO has made aeronautical meteorological services one of its top priorities in order to promote the safety, regularity and efficiency of international air navigation.
Three quarters of significant air traffic delays in regions with high traffic density are related to weather and nearly half of aircraft accidents occur during operations in adverse weather. Other challenges include volcanic eruptions and volcanic ash clouds, which are a hazard to aviation.
“The cooperation between ICAO and WMO will result in a better integration of the meteorological information into the Air Traffic Management system as a key enabler to improving aviation safety, enhancing air navigation capacity and efficiency, reducing the impact of aviation on the environment and mitigating the impact of climate change and variability on aviation,” said Mr Taalas and Ms Liu.
“To realize the potential of our partnership fully, it is essential to recognize the key roles of national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS) and national civil aviation administrations (CAA) in the provision of the meteorological service for international air navigation,” they said.
Their statement said that mutually close relationships need to be well established and maintained to appropriately address the implementation of fair and transparent cost-recovery mechanisms to ensure the sustainability and quality of meteorological services provided to international air navigation that meet the users’ needs and expectations.
Aviation meteorological services are a major source of revenue for many national meteorological services. Mr Taalas and Ms Liu therefore restated their commitment to help provide assistance to developing countries to build their capacity to effectively serve the international air navigation.
WMO and ICAO will work closely in the coming months to ensure that an operational space weather service for international air navigation becomes operational by November 2018.
The effects of Space Weather can range from damage to satellites arising from charged particles to disruption of power grids on Earth during geomagnetic storms, radio blackout on trans-polar aircraft routes, or disturbance of satellite positioning systems. Space Weather monitoring, study and applications are more and more important with the increasing use of space in day-to-day life for telecommunications, observation and navigation.