Aviation Meteorology (MET)
Aviation meteorology (MET) is an essential element of the complex system that constitutes Air Traffic Management (ATM) in its broadest sense. Weather conditions all aspects of ATM operations, e.g. by variations in head and tail-wind components, through changes in pressure and temperature values at airports, and in imposing low visibility operating conditions. Adverse meteorological conditions have the greatest impact on the ATM system creating disruption and the consequent problems of disturbed flow rates, lost capacity and induced additional costs.
The importance of MET within ATM is well recognised by many. From the outset it is important to note that MET service provision is unlike any other domain of activity within ATM for two key reasons related to the division of responsibilities.
- Firstly, the provision of MET services could be just one element of a portfolio of weather services provided by the majority of States, though some States do provide a service dedicated to aviation meteorology alone. In consequence, aviation needs are factored into the overall provision of weather services rather than being the sole or dominant client of a service provider. So the MET Service Provider may be the National Meteorological Service for a State, an element of the national Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), the military services of a State or potentially a commercial provider of weather services;
- The second factor to address is, though the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets the operational requirements, the technical provisions to meet those requirements is the responsibility of another United Nations Specialised Agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). Close cooperation between the two specialised organisations resulted in a minimum set of requirements for MET Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation, the 3rd Annex of the Chicago Convention (Annex 3), which shall be provided by all designated MET providers around the globe.
Whilst it is clearly recognised that MET is essential for today’s and future ATM and the minimum requirements articulated in ICAO Annex 3 are not sufficient to cater for this needs, recent initiatives to develop MET Strategies for Europe showed that ATM had failed to articulate its requirements for MET. And clearly, MET had been neither successful in promoting its substantial present capabilities to their ATM colleagues.