Aeronautical meteorology supports safe and efficient aviation industry

Aeronautical meteorology supports safe and efficient aviation industry



26 July 2018
Press Release Number:

WMO commission focusses on extreme weather, environmental impacts and globalization

Geneva, 26 July 18 - Aviation safety and efficiency, environmental risks and protection, as well as extreme weather and climate change impacts are on the agenda of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology.

001_aeronautical_pressreleaseAir traffic is doubling every 15 years, competition and congestion are both increasing, and air navigation requirements are constantly evolving. With safety in the skies of paramount importance, the demand for an expanded array of national and regional weather services is rising.

The WMO meeting, which is hosted by the United Kingdom’s Met Office at the University of Exeter, will discuss how to address present and future challenges and optimize meteorological support for air transport and navigation.

“This is an exciting time for aviation meteorology!  There’s so much more fantastic weather science and data available to us now,” said Ian Lisk (Met Office), who was elected as the Commission’s new President. “Working closely with WMO Members around the world and our colleagues in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the Commission will be looking at new ways to make the best of this information available, relevant and useful to the wider aviation industry.”

Stéphanie Desbios of Meteo-France was elected Vice-President. 

“Aviation is one of the most weather-sensitive of all economic sectors.  Science and technology are rapidly advancing, and so are user requirements,” says Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology President C.M. Shun (Hong Kong Observatory). “We need to ensure that in close collaboration with the user and research communities, the weather community will be able to further develop services that are fit-for-purpose and credible, both now and in the future.“

Extreme weather and climate change

Three quarters of significant air traffic delays in regions with high traffic density are related to weather conditions such as convection, turbulence, icing, fog, wind, snow and tropical cyclones. Nearly half of aircraft accidents occur during operations in adverse weather.

Other challenges include volcanic eruptions and volcanic ash clouds, sand and dust storms, and phenomena such as space weather and geomagnetic storms.


At the same time, there are mounting concerns about noise and air pollution and aviation’s substantial carbon footprint. Meteorological services help support the aviation industry to reduce flight times and fuel consumption.

Climate change is increasingly factored into long-term planning because it may influence the demand for air travel and the choice of destination. Coastal aerodromes may be increasingly impacted from storm surge aggravated by rising sea levels and stronger storms.

Climate change may lead to changes in maximum and minimum temperatures, turbulence, tropical cyclone intensity and path, and the frequency and intensity of lightning strikes, with knock-on effects on aviation.

Facing the Future

The Commission, which usually meets every four years, will be preceded by a one-day technical conference: The Future is now: meteorology enabling aviation decision support.

Topics will include big data and Artificial Intelligence applications in aeronautical meteorology, enhanced regional hazardous weather information services, integration of meteorological data in the Air Traffic Management system, and priorities into the 2020s.

International civil aviation is embarking on a sweeping modernization programme through to the 2030s that will see significant changes in how meteorological information and services are supplied and used. The overhaul is spearheaded by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which envisages a globally interoperable, harmonized air traffic management system, which will require globally harmonized and consistent meteorological information.

The Commission session will discuss the current state-of-the-art and foreseen advances in meteorology science and technology to support aviation, and consider how to fast-track these advances into operations.

Share this page