Session 3.6 Development of the Canadian Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Program and Plans for the Future

Monday, 20 June 2005: 2:45 PM
South Ballroom (Hilton DeSoto)
Gilles Fournier, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada; and S. D. Holden

Presentation PDF (1.1 MB)

The Canadian AMDAR Program is a cornerstone of the modernization of the Canadian Upper Air Program. The development of AMDAR by the Canadian AMDAR Program Implementation Team (CAPIT) has not been typical as Canada started developing its program from regional air carriers, meaning no simple solutions existed as these carriers usually operate older aircraft using less sophisticated sensors, avionics and datalink systems when such systems are available. No other country had been developing AMDAR programs from regional fleets such that Canada had no expertise to tap on and has been breaking grounds in developing “alternative” AMDAR systems. CAPIT membership includes Environment Canada, the Canadian air carriers, NAV CANADA, the Coordinator of the US MDCRS Program, and the Technical Coordinator of the WMO AMDAR Panel. Nevertheless Canada now has a successful growing AMDAR Program with, as of 24 February, 2005, 41 aircraft from Air Canada Jazz reporting valid temperature and wind data. By February 2006 Air Canada Jazz will be operating a total of 65 AMDAR-capable CRJ aircraft across Canada and by November 2005 about 67 DHC-8 aircraft will have been upgraded to provide AMDAR data. Data from Air Canada Jazz began distribution on GTS and internal Environment Canada circuits on 4 January 2005. The Canadian AMDAR messages are distributed by the Canadian Meteorological Centre as BUFR FM94 bulletins. Real-time horizontal and vertical skew-T and tephigram representations of the Canadian AMDAR data have been available from the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory automated aircraft data web site ( since 12 January 2005. In parallel, proof-of-concept AMDAR alternative systems for First Air, Canadian North and the smaller air carriers are about to be tested and WestJet is about to join the program.


Progress on the development of the Canadian AMDAR Program and plans for the future, including plans to expand the program to include humidity, icing and turbulence will be presented.

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