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H2020

ATM4E Report Summary

Project ID: 699395
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.7.1

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ATM4E (Air Traffic Management for environment)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2017-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Beyond the desire to minimise fuel use and hence CO2 emissions, currently the consideration of environmental aspects in en-route flight planning has not been operational practice. Previous studies have shown that climate and environmental impacts can be reduced by operational measures, i.e. by changing the flight trajectory. Knowing that anthropogenic contribution to climate change and environmental quality, e.g. air quality is one challenge for society in order to develop sustainable aviation.
However, systematic and simultaneous consideration and optimization of environmental impacts, comprising climate impact, air quality and noise issues, are currently lacking. The exploratory research project ATM4E (Air Traffic Management for Environment, SESAR2020) addresses this gap and explores the feasibility of a concept for a multi-dimensional environmental assessment of ATM operations working towards environmental optimization of air traffic operations in the European airspace.

The first objective is to establish a multi-dimensional environmental change function (ECF) concept, which includes air quality impact (LAQ for key pollutants) and perceived noise in addition to climate impact. This will constitute a new metric for an environmental assessment (Workpackage 1). The second objective is to plan flight trajectories which mitigate the environmental impact for characteristic meteorological situations based on different ATM constraint assumptions and optimization strategies and investigate to what extent the resulting changes in traffic flows lead to particular challenges for air traffic management when such optimization is performed (Workpackage 2). The third objective is to evaluate environmentally-optimized routes in a future atmosphere in a comprehensive climate-chemistry modelling allowing a proof of concept of climate-optimization with daily route analysis (Workpackage 3). Finally, a roadmap will be developed with recommendations and an implementation strategy for the environmental optimization of aircraft trajectories in close collaboration with aviation stakeholders (Workpackage 4).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the first eighteen months of the Project ATM4E regarding the first Project objective which is to establish a multi-dimensional environmental change function (ECF) concept, including air quality impact (for key pollutants) and perceived noise in addition to climate impact, based on a detailed analysis (meteorology, flight planning) a decision on date of case study analysis was taken. For this purpose a detailed data requirement on environmental change functions to be defined was prepared. Work has been performed to develop so-called algorithm-based ECFs which can be calculated efficiently using routinely available meteorological data.

For the planning of optimized flight trajectories, which is the second project objective, air traffic data for Europe has been selected and processed. The environmental impact of the selected air traffic has been determined with a trajectory calculator and simulating engine emissions. Emission amounts of carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrogen oxides are provided 3D inventories. With this, potential forming of contrails caused by these flights has been estimated. Data preparations and advancements of the Trajectory Optimization Module (TOM) for processing large air traffic scenarios and meteorological data including the extension of the interpolation routine by the temporal dimension to allow for a full 4D optimization and code parallelization effort have been successfully finalized. Now, the optimization process is faster and large scenarios can be handled more efficiently. A first concept for the integration of climate, LAQ and noise aspects into one combined ECF cost functional in TOM has been designed and implemented by focussing on climate aspects first. Finally, the optimization campaign has been initiated and the entire traffic of a characteristic winter day (18 December 2015) has been environmentally optimized in four dimensions with different ATM and optimization strategies. First results look very promising. These have been discussed based on selected examples and the entire process was documented. Hence, the activities in WP2 are fully according to the project plan and the objectives can be reached.

The third objective is to verify the algorithm based Environmental Change Functions and to evaluate environmentally-optimized routes in a future atmosphere in a comprehensive climate-chemistry modelling allowing a proof of concept of climate-optimisation with daily route analysis (WP3). Progress has been made in different aspects. Firstly, the one-year simulation for contrail avoidance (considered as a proxy of the aCCFs) has been completed and the consequent impacts on flight characteristics have been well understood. Secondly, the aCCFs have been successfully implemented in EMAC as a separate submodel which can be used for climate based trajectory optimization (MS3).
Furthermore, three trajectory calculation cases have been designed with respect to the great circle, the cost optimal and the climate optimal situations. Accordingly, the atmospheric changes attributed to flights with minimal cost or minimal climate impact can be identified as compared to the baseline great circle flights. Up to the reporting time, the simulations are still ongoing. In addition, a preliminary verification has been performed to the ozone, methane, and water vapour aCCFs by comparing them to validated results from literature.

In order to have available at the end of the Project a roadmap with recommendations and an implementation strategy for the environmental optimization of aircraft trajectories, close collaboration and communication with aviation stakeholders has been established. A decision on a communication strategy was taken, by identifying means of communication and establishing an external expert Advisory Board.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The derivation of algorithmic Climate Change Functions in the workpackage on Environmental Change Functions, with their dependence on prevailing weather conditions, is novel. For the first time, the entire traffic of a characteristic winter day (18 December 2015) has been environmentally optimized in four dimensions with different ATM and optimization strategies. It is the first time that algorithmic Climate Change Functions were used in such a wide-ranging optimization. The comprehensive trajectory data and the multitude of optimizations per route using different cost function weights allow for various interesting assessments and provide understanding of how environmental-optimized flying in Europe would look like and how it might be eventually accommodated.
Progress towards a multi-dimensional environmental assessment framework has been made. Such a framework unifies individual environmental impacts of aviation and environmental performance criteria. Having available such an assessment framework enables a comprehensive, simultaneous analysis of environmental performance of aircraft operations and trajectories.

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