Skip to main content

Meteorological uncertainty management for Flow Management Positions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FMPMet (Meteorological uncertainty management for Flow Management Positions)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-04-30

Weather is difficult to predict even with the help of the latest in forecasting technology. But an accurate weather outlook is crucial for air traffic management. As such, meteorological forecast uncertainty should be included in the decision-making process. The framework for this project is the integration of MET forecast uncertainty information into the decision-making process for Flow Management Positions (FMP), an operational position that monitors the level of traffic in airspace sectors and coordinates flow measures when an excess of demand over capacity is detected. Thus, FMP-Met deals with the provision of probabilistic forecasts of sector demand, sector complexity, and sector capacity reduction under convective weather for a forecasting horizon of 8 hours.

This project uses Ensemble Weather Forecasting to quantify the MET forecast uncertainty, that is, the uncertainty is defined by scenarios. Different sources of MET uncertainty are considered: wind, air temperature and convection zone uncertainties, provided by Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS), and storm cell uncertainty, provided by probabilistic nowcasts.

The overall objective is to provide the FMP with an intuitive and interpretable probabilistic assessment of the impact of convective weather on the traffic, up to 8 hours in advance, to allow better-informed decision making. The importance of this project for society is linked to the benefits for the passengers and the different stakeholders expected from the outcome of the project.
The work done from the beginning of the project until the end of the 1st reporting period is summarized next per Work Package (WP), making reference to deliverables (Dx.y) and milestones (MS).
1) After signing the Consortium Agreement (MS1) and holding the Kick-Off Meeting (MS2), in WP1 the Project Management Plan has been produced (D1.1). Other activities carried out are the following: a) the Advisory Board members have been appointed; b) the 1st and 2nd Steering Board Meetings have been held (MS4 and MS5); c) the 1st Annual Progress Report has been produced (D1.1.010); d) a Validation Plan has been elaborated.
2) In WP2 the Concept of Operations has been developed (D2.1). After the SJU review and the assessments of the Advisory Board members, an updated version has been produced.
3) In WP3 the meteorological input has been defined (D3.1) and the methodology to produce a probabilistic nowcast has been developed.
4) In WP4 a methodology to predict probabilistic aircraft trajectories using multi-scale convective weather information has been developed. The core of this work is to effectively propagate uncertainties from a given current state up to look-ahead times of 8 hours. The challenge arises in integrating different temporal scales and different MET phenomena.
5) The work in WP5 has just started.
6) The work in WP6 has just started.
7) Even though WP7 has not started yet, some preliminary work has been done: the use cases to be considered in the project have been defined, and all the input data required have been defined and obtained.
8) In WP 8 the dissemination, communication, exploitation and data management plans have been elaborated (D8.1 D8.2 D8.3 and D8.4). Different dissemination and communication activities have been carried out: construction of the FMP-Met website (MS3), Twitter and Research Gate profiles, participation in the ER/IR MET&ENV Workshop organized by the SJU (1/10/2020), presentation of a poster for SID’20 (MS7).

Two other issues need to be reported:
1) With respect to the project work breakdown, there has been a change in this 1st reporting period: task transfer from MetSol to USE. The change has not impacted the grant. Only the storm avoidance tool has been replaced with another one which has the same capability and functionality. This change is reported in STELLAR.
2) There has been a Budget change (authorized by SJU) required to purchase some MET data needed in the project (unforseen direct cost).
The expected outcome of the project is the development of a methodology intended to improve the decision-making process for FMPs. More specifically, a methodology to generate probabilistic predictions of demand-capacity balance to be used in conjunction with the tools currently used by FMPs. An innovative feature of FMP-Met is the generation of predictions with an extended lead time of 8 hours, which requires the use of different probabilistic weather forecast products, with different lead times and coverage areas (nowcasts, limited-area EPS and global EPS). The key principle is to use the best weather forecast product available at each time and location.

The expected results of the project can be summarized as follows:
• Early warning of capacity reduction (caused by convective weather).
• Prediction of en-route sector congestion due to convective weather (likelihood of demand exceeding capacity).
• Suggestion of opening scheme (sectorization least affected by convective weather).

The potential impact of this project, from the point of view of the overall efficiency of the ATM system, will be the improvement of the decision-making process in traffic flow management under convective weather. Indeed, the provision of a trustworthy forecast of the future sector demand and complexity and of a reliable estimation of the impact of the convective weather on the sector capacity will support the FMP in taking anticipated, appropriate, and timely tactical flow measures, which will ultimately reduce flight delays and improve passenger journeys.
Project logo