WMO Expands Use of Commercial Aircraft to Collect Meteorological Data


17 November 2008: The World Meteorological Organization

(WMO) Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Panel convened from 17-21

November 2008, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, to discuss ways to broaden its

global coverage.

The AMDAR is a part of the WMO Integrated Global Observing

Systems. The meeting was hosted by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, and

brought together Panel members who represent the WMO member countries

participating in the programme. The AMDAR employs local commercial aircrafts, as

well as some military and private aircrafts, to automatically measure and

transmit meteorological and environment observations while on their regular

flights. Modern onboard sensors, computers and communications systems collect,

process, format and transmit the meteorological data to ground stations via

satellite or radio links. Once on the ground, the data is relayed to the global

network of National Meteorological Services and other authorized users.

National Meteorological Services extensively use this high-quality data to

improve weather information and forecasts, including early warnings and

disaster alerts, as well as for the analysis of local and regional climate

patterns. The number of aircraft equipped for AMDAR has increased 50-fold since

the programme's inception in 1998, and now accounts for 250,000 jets. The

system captures weather observations for areas that often lack ground-based

meteorological systems. In recent years, coverage has expanded over Africa and

East Asia, but the AMDAR Panel is seeking to expand coverage in a number of

regions, including Siberia, the Caribbean and South America, the Middle East,

Central and Southeast Asia, South West Pacific and Africa.

The AMDAR Science

and Technology workshop, which met the same week as the AMDAR Panel meeting,

discussed ways to implement national AMDAR programmes in countries that

currently lack coverage. [WMO

Press Release] [AMDAR Website]