Monday, 10 February 2003
Precision Aviation Forecasting in a Datasparse Coastal Regime
Along the west coast of North America, especially over the rugged coast of British Columbia, meteorological phenomena exist on length and time scales similar to those of summer convective weather. On the west coast, important weather phenomena at these scales are common throughout the year. Compounding the challenge, in terms of aviation meteorology, is the fact that the west coast of British Columbia is isolated and transportation relies on float-equipped aircraft operating under visual flight rules. Along with NAV CANADA, the operator of Canada's Air Navigation System, and its clients, the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) is in the process of developing specialized, high precision forecasts for the west coast of BC. These forecasts are expected to be issued every few hours and include parameters such as ceiling, visibility, wind, turbulence and wave heights. Given the paucity of surface, radar and upper air information in this region, forecasts would be based primarily on satellite information. Night time satellite techniques to diagnose low cloud and fog are not always effective. Thus, available wind and temperature observations would be used to supplement the satellite imagery particularly where the terrain complexity exceeds the satellite resolution. It is anticipated that this new forecast product would contribute to the safety and efficiency of BC coastal aircraft operations.