The Weather Impact Tool for ATFCM is Becoming an Operational Reality

METSAFE and FRACS successfully combined their expertise to address the topic of meteorology for ATFCM through a fully automated approach and design a decision-making tool enhancing weather situational awareness and supporting the implementation of ATFCM mitigation measures.

Through the SESAR Engage MET Enhanced ATFCM project developed in close collaboration with Reims UAC air traffic flow controllers, the team focused on providing accurate convection information for ATFCM activities, within a6-hour time horizon as an initial target. The research approach focused on both technical and operational aspects, as identification of needs and concept of operations, assessment of convection models, design and deployment of a model-based R&D convection product. Up-to-date and accurate European thunderstorms forecast at +6-hour horizon based on a multi-weather model algorithm has been delivered as a SWIM web service for Reims Upper Area Control Centre during technical and operational validation trials in June 2020.

From an operational point of view, the first goal of increasing weather situational awareness of Flight Management operators has been achieved with the continuous provision of precise convection information fully in phase with the ATFCM time horizon. The validation sessions also highlighted the revelance of such a tool for the definition of ATFCM measures from 6 hours to 3 hours of anticipation, that would contribute to the improvement of the Network performance.

Further steps towards the enhancement of tactical measures related to weather events could be considering other MET phenomena and assessing their impact on ATM operations. To answer this ambitious challenge, METSAFE and FRACS launched the Weather Impact Prediction for ATM (WIPA) project last summer. This SESAR Engage initiative is expected to support the Flight Management Position (FMP) ATCOs decision-making activities during the tactical phase, by delivering weather-related events impact information on the en route traffic. The FMP controllers would then be able to improve considerably their weather situational awareness and tactical mitigation or regulations. Operational validation sessions are planned with Reims Upper Area Centre (UAC) during summer 2021, in parallel to the Network Manager Weather Trials involving the French air navigation service provider.

Stay tuned for more exciting news on this subject!