Variability of Turbulence Potentials along the Trans-Atlantic Wind-Optimal Flight Route

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 4:30 PM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Jung-Hoon Kim, NASA/ARC, Moffett Field, CA; and W. N. Chan, B. Sridhar, R. D. Sharman, and P. D. Williams

Climate-optimal flight plans based on the minimum time path with maximum tail wind over the Atlantic Ocean may have the potential to encounter unexpected turbulence, because local gradients of meteorological variables like horizontal and vertical wind and temperature are generally large within the jet stream. On the other hand, minimizing a head wind can also deviate an aircraft toward the region where mountain waves are dominant over Greenland. This creates a challenge in deciding to maneuver an aircraft in the hopes of improving safety that may result in higher fuel use. The potential of aircraft turbulence is calculated using Modern Era-Retrospective Analysis for Research and Application (MERRA) data along a trans-Atlantic wind-optimal flight route. Because the potential of the turbulence is dependent upon upper-level flow patterns, we apply this for three different modes of the weather pattern during 1) 2004-2005 winter [extremely positive Artic Oscillation (AO) pattern], 2) 2009-2010 winter [extremely negative AO pattern], and 3) 2008-2009 winter [normal AO] over the Atlantic Ocean. There are several interesting results, including that the turbulence potential is higher in the positive AO experiment than the negative AO experiment for westbound flights. Detailed results of this research will be presented in the conference.