Aviation weather Research
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Many of the improvements in aviation safety and capacity enhancement over the past 20 years have stemmed from advances in Aviation Weather Research. Automated hazardous wind shear detection algorithms (microbursts, gust fronts) pioneered at Lincoln Laboratory have had a large impact on U.S. flight safety. Our current research efforts are listed below.
Weather is the direct cause of 75% of all air traffic delays greater than 15 min, and convective weather accounts for at least 60% of all weather delay. Since the mid-1990s, MIT Lincoln Laboratory has led research on Storm Forecasting under the FAA’s Aviation Weather Research Program.
Recently, summer and winter forecasting efforts, as well as numerical model development and enhancement efforts have been brought together under CoSPA – Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation – to tackle the urgent need for precise and accurate storm forecasts out to 12 hours in the future.
An effort closely related to storm forecasting is Ceiling and Visibility Forecasting. Stormy weather, however, is not the only cause of these low visibility conditions. Marine stratus fog and other radiation fog events can also reduce throughput at the nation’s key airports.
Turbulence associated with aircraft wake vortices, which are a by-product of lift generated by aircraft, poses a serious potential hazard to following aircraft at low altitude. The FAA and NASA are coordinating on Wake Vortex Systems research to help implement avoidance solutions that safely preserve the available capacity at our nation’s busy terminals.
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