Predicting Aviation Hazards During Convective Events, Abstract


Atmospheric convection can result in weather conditions capable of making a pilot lose control of the aircraft. An example of such weather is thunderstorms. This study was made to evaluate weather forecasts for aircraft pilots during days of convective activity. For this purpose, a literature study was conducted to identify the weaknesses of numerical weather prediction models in their handling of convection, and limitations of aviation targeted forecast products were addressed. The study also includes remarks and insights received from experienced aviation forecasters on the subject. The study is limited to Sweden and the forecasts made by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).

Four main results have been found . First, the numerical weather prediction models in use in Sweden today are insufficient for making detailed forecasts of convection. Second, the required additional input from human forecasters is restrained by the imperfections of so-called convective indices. Third, convection forecasts issued more than a few hours ahead of time cannot be trusted as being accurate. Finally, the forecast products available to pilots were found to lack valuable information about convective events. It was concluded that pilots cannot access enough information from these forecast products to be able to plan an altogether safe flight through convective weather beforehand. Hence[/annotax] , it is important to improve forecasts of convection for the purpose of enhancing aviation safety.

Key words : Aviation, convection, forecasting