Graphical NZ SIG Weather (GNZSIGWX)
The MetService and CAA work on a graphical significant weather product to depict expected areas of moderate icing, CB, turbulence etc has been completed and has been available since early 2018. It provides for various flight level bands, including surface to FL100. Operators should continue to monitor SIGMET and Graphical SIGMET for expected severe phenomena. For further information refer to the Graphical NZ SIGWX video(external link).
Graphical GA Weather Product (GRAFOR)
MetService and CAA work in the development of a graphical low level significant weather product that would consolidate the current ARFOR information into a graphical low level significant weather forecast over the whole country up to 10,000ft is now largely complete.
The GRAFOR will go live on 26 June 2018. It will be accompanied by the Aviation Area Winds (AAW) that will list the traditional winds up to FL100 for each of the old ARFOR areas. Refer to the GRAFOR and AAW User Guide [PDF 4.6 MB] for further information.
METFLIGHT HELP Page
Users are encouraged to look at the MetFlight HELP page as it contains a wealth of background, decode and contextual information covering all aspects of the information supplied on MetFlight and elsewhere.
Work continues on the correction of use and supply of QNH at a number of secondary unattended aerodromes. An article covering these matters was published in the November/December Vector. Currently the feasibility of piggy-backing existing AWIBs on adjacent MetService AWS equipment is being investigated as a potential remedy in the supply of certificated QNH at such aerodromes.
The CAA intends to hold the second annual MET symposium in early October 2018. Following on from the first symposium last year, the objective is to better co-ordinate and collaborate aviation MET efforts in New Zealand to ensure what is done, and what is developed, is optimal, responsive, and sustainable. This year the symposium will consider the response to action as allocated last year and take closer look at the MET situation in the wider South Pacific area.
It is noteworthy that the Pacific Islands Aviation Weather Services Panel (PIAWS), which reports to the Pacific Meteorology Council, has recently accepted an invitation to work closely with the ICAO Asia Pacific MET Groups on matters of mutual interest concerning the provision of aeronautical meteorological services in the Pacific, including cooperatively addressing outstanding deficiencies. PIAWS members include representatives of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, USA, Vanuatu, SPREP, USP and WMO.
Copies of the various presentations and papers from last year can be found under the heading MET Symposium 2017 on the Met developments page.
ICAO/WMO Volcanic Ash Meetings
The CAA and MetService will be hosting a series of international meetings in Wellington 5 – 14 November 2018 on the management and delivery of advisory information on volcanic ash.
In particular, MetService will host the WMO Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre Best Practices meeting (VAACBP) and the WMO Volcanic Ash Science Advisory group (VASAG) whose task it is to steer scientific developments and research on volcanic ash in aviation.
The CAA will host the ICAO Met Panel Operations Group meeting on the global management of the International Airways Volcano Watch system (IAVW).
WMO Aeronautical Meteorology Scientific Conference
Held in Toulouse, November 6-10 2017 and organised by the WMO commissions for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM), for Atmospheric Science (CAS) and for Basic Systems (CBS), in conjunction with Meteo-France.
CAA was unable to attend but a good crew from MetService made it and reported it very worth-while. See the report below:
Regional MET work
Collaborative SIGMET Issuance
A project involving Japan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam has demonstrated the benefits of working cooperatively to provide SIGMET information in a consistent manner across FIR boundaries.
MET Support to ATM
Collaborative Decision Making (CDM), involving the State Meteorological Service provider, the ANSP and airlines, is proving to be very effective in several ICAO Asia Pacific States. In this regard CDM has proven to be useful in assisting with air traffic flow management where there is a combination of high traffic density and the occurrence of severe weather. Australia, Korea, China, Japan and Hong Kong, China are currently providing specially tailored MET information to support ATM. and in some cases this involves dedicated meteorologists working alongside air traffic controllers in aerodrome, approach and area control centres.
The ICAO Asia Pacific Volcanic Ash Exercises Steering Group (VOLCEX) meets annually to develop and implement exercises for the exchange of and response to volcanic ash information for aviation. VOLCEX typically organises two exercises each year on a rotational basis in the Asia Pacific Region. Exercises over the past few years have involved selecting particular volcanoes in the region and arranging for specific States to issue and monitor volcanic information based on simulated volcanic eruptions. The results of each exercise provide valuable information on the effectiveness of the procedures used to issue volcanic ash information. Volcanoes in the Philippines and Indonesia have been selected for previous tests, and future tests will include volcanoes in PNG and the SW Pacific.
Various ICAO Meteorological Panel work stream updates:
Space Weather (support to GNSS based PBN/TBO operations and HF communication). At their extra-ordinary 26-27 April 2018 meeting the MET Panel recommended to the Air Navigation Commission (ANC) that:
Following extensive auditing by WMO, Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, PECASUS, Russian Federation, and the United States be considered compliant at the time of the site assessment and audit on their Space Weather capabilities; and, South Africa be considered compliant but with qualification,
not later than November 2018, two (2) global space weather information providers be established that conjointly provide information on space weather impacts to High Frequency (HF) radio communications, satellite communications, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based navigation and surveillance, and radiation exposure at flight levels, and
in addition to and not later than November 2022, up to four (4) regional space weather information providers be established that provide complementary higher resolution information for HF communications, satellite communications and GNSS based navigation and surveillance in support of the global space weather information service.
The ICAO Space Weather Manual will be completed by the end of 2018.
Interestingly, 2 consortiums have been formed to bid the provision of the Space Weather Information service:
PECASUS - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland (as consortium lead), Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom, and South Africa,
A consortium of Australia, Japan, France, and
A consortium of Russia and China.
Refer to the full METP/3 Report(external link).
Global Air navigation Information Symposium (GANIS)
In November the management team of the MET Panel presented key MET overview information to a large and interested audience of the ICAO GANIS symposium in Montreal.
The objective of the GANIS was to review key areas of future work focus for GANP and GASP, allowing identification of priority and efforts, and to inform work programmes leading up to next ICAO Assembly meeting in 2019 through Air Navigation Commission its preliminary work programme.
Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Information
This project has been restarted with a strong focus on developing a global system based on weather phenomena rather than FIR boundaries, ostensibly supplied by a number of regional centres probably advised by State MET organisations in a procedural manner.
The concept has the potential to replace SIGMET in the future, thereby simplifying severe weather information for international aircraft operations. In the meantime, the MET Panel intends to recommend States to participate in regional/sub-regional SIGMET coordination following detailed guidance to be described in Doc 8896 – Manual of Aeronautical Meteorological Practice.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
Work continues on the development of better understanding and systems to provide information on a global basis on the extent of SO2 clouds in the atmosphere. This work is predicated on the adverse effects of moderate to high densities of SO2 on both aircraft systems and those on board.
MET information exchange
Work is maturing on the development of the necessary extensible mark-up language needed for the provision of MET information in new code form (IWXXM – ICAO MET extensible mark-up language) to eventually replace the current traditional alpha-numeric code (TAC) forms used in the likes of TAF, METAR, SIGMET etc. The objective of this work is to be able to provide machine ingestible information for use in computer based flight planning, ATS, aircraft operations and management. It is likely that the IWXXM and TAC code forms will need to run in parallel for some time to allow States and users to catch-up.
Work is ongoing on the move from the existing ICAO Annex 3 to the convention to the provision of a PANS-MET documentation setting out the basic requirements and the means of complying with those requirements. This isaprt of the overall MET Panel work in support of the ICAO GANP and ASBUs (Global Air Navigation Plan and Aviation System Block Upgrades. MET Panel has taken a major part in its revision of the ASBUs for publication in 2019.
Work continues on the improvement of World Area Forecast Information. In particular the granularity of the information will be further improved to a 1 km resolution and 1,000ft intervals in the near future. This will provide significantly bigger volumes of data and necessitate partial downloading requirements from users.
Here is further information on the work of the MET Panel Operations(external link) working group.
MetService have confirmed that they are now capable of providing SIGMET, to denote an area of radioactive material (released accidentally or otherwise). It will consist of the ICAO Annex 3 standard use of a simple cylinder, of diameter 30km to FL999 centred over the point of release.
CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland.