Keeping an eye on air turbulence from space

#Weather, #EUMETSAT

Published on 26 August 2020

For many travellers, air turbulence is often a cause of much concern and in some cases, fear. Occurring due to a variety of natural factors, air turbulence can sometimes give rise to anxiety, more so because of its seemingly unpredictable nature.

Turbulent or rough air is most commonly defined as chaotic currents of air that are disturbed by some outside force. Air turbulence is an occurrence that takes place everywhere, even at ground level and above the normal cruising altitude. However, while air turbulence is harmless in most cases, because it is a source of worry for many people on flights, pilots try to avoid it as much as possible.

With forecasting being an integral part of the aviation environment, the EUMETSAT Nowcasting and Very Short Range Forecasting (NWC) Satellite Application Facility (SAF) has been developing several products related to turbulence.

Lothar Schüller, the EUMETSAT SAF Network Manager, highlights the potential of turbulence-related information derived from satellites: “The Nowcasting SAF team intensified the development of methods to use the sensors in space to observe the conditions which are not directly visible by a human eye but yet can have a strong impact when flying through the air.

Airlines, pilots and traffic control are eager to know what to expect along the planned flight routes and our weather satellites are supporting them, monitoring the atmosphere every time and everywhere.”

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