Airport World - Filipe Silva

Aviation plays a huge role in both the United States and international infrastructure, from transporting people for leisure and business trips to moving cargo both domestically and internationally, writes Filipe Silva.

Recently, airlines have also been on a mission to decrease emissions and optimise fuel burn to save money, which is heavily reliant on route planning with significant weather contingencies.

Forecasting is an essential first step for flight planning, and meteorologists are a critical part of any airline. Unfortunately, the weather models don’t have sufficient resolution for wind, temperature, humidity, and dew point horizontally or vertically at flight levels.

Another long-standing headache for meteorologists in the aviation industry is the lack of observations both at flight level and in between Meteorological Terminal Air Report (METAR) sites. Once an aircraft leaves the range of the airport radar, or nearest NEXRAD site, visibility into what’s happening in the atmosphere decreases.

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