Integrating Space Weather Observations & Forecasts into Aviation Operations: “Aviation Space Weather User Requirements”

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 2:00 PM
B315 (GWCC)
Bryn Jones, SolarMetrics Limited, Chedworth, Glos., United Kingdom; and D. Boteler, G. Fisher, J. Kunches, W. J. Murtagh, D. Rome, D. Rose, and M. Stills

The space weather events that concern the commercial air and space industries most are those that disrupt the operational systems and those that increase the radiation environment. The issues are economic, operational and safety related. The effects include degradation or loss of RF communications and satellite navigation signals; navigation system disruptions; avionic errors and human health.

The American Meteorological Society and SolarMetrics, in coordination with the FAA, NOAA/SWPC, NSF, and NextGen/JPDO, organized a workshop on November 29–30, 2006 in Washington DC that led to recommendations on how to improve the safety and operations of the global aviation system through better integration of space weather information.

That Workshop identified that neither the aviation industry nor the space weather community have a clear understanding of the aviation industry's requirements for space weather information. Therefore, it was decided that the aviation industry needed to clearly define its requirements for space weather information and how it is incorporated into the operational decision making process. The Cross Polar Working Group (CPWG – an ad-hoc group of U.S., Canadian, and Russian air traffic controllers; international airline dispatchers and operations managers; and IATA meet periodically to discuss issues of importance in operating the Polar, North Atlantic and Pacific routes), was identified to lead the process for defining these “user requirements” through the work of a CPWG Space Weather (SW) sub-group comprising expertise in operations, ATC, and space weather science.

The user requirements have been defined first and foremost by their category of operational impact area (i.e., communication, navigation, avionic and human health) and then with consideration for the operational processes and timelines that need to be addressed during any space weather activity. This ensures that the requirements are biased towards the operator's needs.

This presentation will give a brief overview of these aviation space weather user requirements.