How to represent the weather impact on aviation in a global air traffic model

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Stephan Himmelsbach, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover, Germany; and T. Hauf and C. H. Rokitansky

Safety and efficiency of aviation is strongly influenced by weather. To understand that influence, especially that of thunderstorms and other severe hazards, we plan to use the detailed simulation software (NAVSIM) of worldwide air traffic, developed by Rokitansky [Eurocontrol, 2005] and combine the latter with a specific weather module. NAVSIM is suitable for these investigations because it simulates each aircraft with its specific performance characteristics separately and along preplanned and prescribed routes. The implemented weather module simulates a thunderstorm as an impenetrable 3D object, the so called Cb-weather object, which forces an aircraft to fly around. A Cb-weather object is based on observed satellite and precipitation radar data and consists of an upper volume, mostly the anvil, and a bottom volume, the up- and downdrafts and the lower outflow area [Tafferner and Forster, 2009; Kober and Tafferner 2009; Zinner et al, 2008]. A Cb-weather object in NAVSIM moves with the mean wind and its size also goes through a life cycle. Only Cb-weather objects have been implemented in NAVSIM so far, but in further steps other weather objects like icing and turbulence are planned.

This combination of NAVSIM with weather objects allows a detailed investigation of situations where conflicts exist between planned flight routes and adverse weather. The first objective is to simulate the observed circumnavigation in NAVSIM and compare real occurring routes with simulated ones. After a successful implementation, NAVSIM will offer a platform to assess existing rules and develop more efficient strategies to reduce the weather impact on aviation efficiency. First studies focused on special conflict situations are presented.

Cb-object data provision by A. Tafferner, C. Forster, T. Zinner, K. Kober, M. Hagen (DLR Oberpfaffenhofen) is greatly acknowledged.


Eurocontrol, VDL Mode 2 Capacity Analysis through Simulations: WP3.B – NAVSIM Overview and Validation Results, Edition 1.2, 2005

Kober K. and A. Tafferner. Tracking and nowcasting of convective cells using remote sensing data from radar and satellite, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 1 (No. 18), 75-84, 2009

Tafferner A. and C. Forster, Improvement of thunderstorm hazard information for pilots through a ground based weather information and management system, Eighth USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminar (submitted), 2009

Zinner, T., H. Mannstein, A. Tafferner. Cb-TRAM: Tracking and monitoring severe convection from onset over rapid development to mature phase using multi-channel Meteosat-8 SEVIRI data, Meteorol. Atmos. Phys., 101, 191-210, 2008