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Aviation Weather Data: Accuracy and Impacts

Aviation | Weather forecasting | Weather Radar |

Aviation Weather Data: Accuracy and Impacts

The aviation industry is a high-stakes industry that faces a unique set of challenges, with weather conditions being one of the most significant. Unpredictable weather can disrupt schedules, increase operational costs, and pose risks to both passengers and flight crews. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how various weather events impact aviation and explore how technological advancements in radar coverage, weather observation, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), and the integration of AI in weather forecasting can help aviation companies mitigate these weather-related risks.

The Aviation Industry Overview

The aviation industry is a complex web of airlines, airports, air traffic control systems, and various supporting services. It encompasses both commercial and general aviation, ranging from small private aircraft to massive jumbo jets carrying hundreds of passengers. The aviation industry as a whole supports $3.5 trillion (4.1%) of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). With billions of passengers taking to the skies every year, the industry’s operations are highly dependent on accurate and timely weather information.


Impacts of Weather on Aviation


Weather phenomena like atmospheric pressure, jet streams, cold or warm weather fronts, air around mountains, and thunderstorms can lead to turbulence, which can be uncomfortable for passengers and pose risks to aircraft. Pilots often need to deviate from their planned routes or altitudes to avoid turbulent areas, resulting in increased fuel consumption and delays.

Low Visibility

Fog, mist, rain, and snow can severely reduce visibility during takeoff and landing. Such conditions can lead to flight delays, diversions, and, in extreme cases, cancellations. To ensure safety, pilots may need to rely on instrument landing systems.


Icing can occur when aircraft fly through supercooled water droplets or encounter freezing temperatures. Ice accumulation on the wings, tail, and engine inlets can reduce aerodynamic performance and fuel efficiency and de-icing larger aircraft can cost over $13,000. It is crucial for pilots to be informed of potential icing conditions to take necessary precautions.

Snow and Ice on Runways

Accumulation of snow and ice on runways poses a significant operational challenge. Snow removal and de-icing procedures for runways are required to ensure safe takeoffs and landings. Inability to manage winter weather can lead to expensive delays and cancellations.

Thunderstorms and Lightning

Thunderstorms can disrupt flight operations due to strong winds, lightning, and hail. These conditions can be hazardous for aircraft, leading to diversions and delays. Lightning can also pose a risk to ground operations.


Mitigating Weather-Related Risks

To reduce the impact of adverse weather on aviation, the industry can turn to several key areas of technological advancement. These technologies provide more accurate and timely information, enabling airlines to make informed decisions, enhance safety, optimize flight operations, and ultimately improve the overall flying experience for passengers and flight crews. As the aviation industry continues to invest in these advancements, it becomes better equipped to navigate the challenges posed by unpredictable weather conditions.

Better Radar Coverage

Advanced radar systems, such as dual-polarization radar, provide higher-resolution data on precipitation, winds, and storm structure. This enhanced detection and tracking capability allows aviation companies to identify severe weather events, such as thunderstorms and wind shears, more accurately and in real-time. Pilots can receive timely information about turbulence or storm cells, enabling them to make informed decisions about route adjustments and altitude changes.

Climavision fills the observation gaps in existing radar coverage with our advanced high-resolution weather radar systems. The Climavision network is a first of its kind, supplemental radar network that provides access to real-time streaming radar data to deliver more complete coverage at the critical lower levels of the atmosphere.

More Unique Weather Observation Data

Aviation companies benefit from a broader array of weather data sources, including weather balloons, satellites, ground-based sensors, and remote sensing technologies. These sources provide a more comprehensive view of the atmosphere, offering valuable information on temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and more. These rich datasets help meteorologists create more accurate and detailed weather forecasts.

Access to diverse weather observation data allows aviation companies to better understand the evolving weather patterns, particularly in the vicinity of airports and flight routes. This knowledge helps in predicting the onset and duration of adverse weather conditions, such as fog, low ceilings, and icing, which are crucial for flight planning and scheduling.

At Climavision, we are helping airlines and airports address the new norms in extreme weather to better predict volatile weather by increasing weather data collection. We are increasing our access to unique observational data from multiple sources as well as our high-resolution radar network. This data comes from space-based sources and other novel datasets, giving more insight into what is happening even in remote areas, such as over the world’s oceans, in real time. We not only collect more data, we also can assimilate more into our models as well. Through meticulous data processing and rigorous quality control measures, we increase the usable observational data to over 20%, compared to the 3% provided by government sources. The more data there is to input into weather models, the more accurate the model outputs will be.

Advanced Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)

Advanced NWP models utilize complex mathematical algorithms to simulate atmospheric conditions and improve the accuracy and range of weather forecasts. By providing reliable forecasts several days in advance, airlines can plan their operations more effectively. This includes scheduling flights, optimizing fuel consumption, and making route adjustments to avoid adverse weather.

Customizable forecasts, derived from advanced NWPs, offer detailed information that can be tailored to the aviation industry’s needs. These models can provide insights into phenomena like wind shear, turbulence, and clear-air turbulence, which are of particular concern for flight safety. This data assists airlines in making well-informed decisions to mitigate risks.

Climavision pushes the boundaries of forecasting by crafting our own advanced Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) Models, meticulously calibrated to account for the evolving landscape of extreme weather patterns in our changing atmosphere. Our Horizon AI weather forecasting product suite encompassing Horizon AI GlobalHIRESPoint and Subseasonal to Seasonal models. From high resolution short-term forecasts to probabilistic longer term global outlooks, Climavision can arm airlines and aviation-related organizations with the most accurate weather information they need to protect assets and lives. For example, Climavision’s Horizon AI Global model is optimized to expose all 128 levels of our model (versus the reduced resolution output of other global models, which can be as few as 40 levels) – significantly improving fuel performance, safety, and efficiency to daily operations and offering seamless integration into airlines’ FMS.


Take Flight With Advanced Weather Technology

Weather remains one of the most significant challenges facing the aviation industry. The impacts of weather events, from turbulence to low visibility, can disrupt schedules, increase costs, and jeopardize safety. To mitigate these risks, aviation companies are investing in better radar coverage, more unique weather observation data, advanced NWPs, and the integration of AI in weather forecasting. With these advancements, the aviation industry is better equipped to navigate the skies and keep passengers and crews safe, ultimately ensuring a smoother and more efficient flying experience for all. If you’d like to learn how Climavision’s advancements in weather technology can help your aviation organization, contact us.