This blog site is intended to provide brief information on the current and future work of the CAA relating to:
- management and development of New Zealand’s aeronautical meteorological system with regard to international obligations and global systems, and
- facilitation of meteorological services, systems, products, and education within the New Zealand civil aviation system.
Each entry will be dated and contain reference to any applicable web site or document for further background or reading.
9 Aug 2019
Senior MET Specialist Retires
Keith Mackersy has decided to hang up his meteorological boots and retire from his current position of Senior MET Specialist, after a long and distinguished career. The majority of Keith’s working life was spent with MetService rising to General Manager Aviation Services, then on to a part-time position at CAA for the last 12 years or so. Keith has represented NZ in many ICAO and WMO forums over this time, with his first exposure to ICAO in 1974, where he was an observer at the 8th ICAO MET Divisional Meeting. He then played an active role in ICAO MET groups, attending a total of 52 ICAO or WMO meetings, including acting as Chair of four different ICAO Asia-Pacific MET groups and as a rapporteur for four working groups. Back home Keith has managed many changes and developments, furthering the provision, use and understanding of aviation meteorology in New Zealand – including the move to graphical SIGMETs and the GAP booklets covering MET.
Keith’s extensive knowledge of aviation MET and his willingness to share his experiences means he will be sorely missed from the aviation MET community, but his colleagues from around the globe all wish him a very happy retirement.
Peter Lechner will continue to provide support to our new Chief Meteorological Officer Paula Acethorp, as needed from time to time.
Global and Domestic MET Activities
Space Weather – work is continuing by the global space weather centres to set up the operational processes for dissemination of space weather advisories, with an anticipated commencement date for services of 7 November 2019. Keep an eye out on the upcoming spring edition of Vector for an article about potential space weather impacts on aviation.
Quantitative Volcanic Ash Forecasts – the nine global Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) are looking at how a move to quantitative volcanic ash information might be implemented. Instead of a polygon simply describing an area of ash contamination, data would instead be provided on the likely concentrations of the ash across the whole ash cloud. This information would allow operators to make risk based decisions on a route, by calculating a likely ash “dosage” for the aircraft engines. Information on this research will be presented by VAAC Wellington (operated by MetService) at the next New Southern Sky Working Group meeting, as an example of work undertaken in support of the Global Air Navigation Plan.
3rd NZ Aviation MET Symposium – the 2019 NZ Aviation MET Symposium is planned for 19th September, and will be held at the CAA offices in Wellington. As with previous years, presentations will include information on global MET developments, activities by Part-174 certificate holders and discussion sessions on topics important to both airlines and GA operators. In addition, a presentation will be made by a space weather expert on what space weather is and what its effects might be. For more information, please contact Paula.Acethorp@caa.govt.nz
31 May 2019
CAA MET Team Changes
New CMO - With effect from 1 June 2019 Paula Acethorp will be the new Chief Meteorological Officer at the CAA. Paula joined the CAA in August last year as CMO (designate) coming from the position of Aviation Weather Services Manager / VAAC Wellington Manager at MetService.
CMO Retires - Peter Lechner leaves the position of Chief Meteorological Officer after many years’ service in the CAA and previously at MetService, in operational, management, and meteorological related positions.
The Team - Peter Lechner and Keith Mackersy will continue to provide support to Paula as needed from time to time.
New Zealand MET Work
Longer International Aerodrome Forecasts – the first verification data on the trial 30hr TAF has been received from MetService. Analysis of the data is currently underway.
However, there has also been some new indications from airline users that a 3-hourly updated 24hr TAF is preferable to a 30hr TAF, so the review group (consisting of CAA, MetService and Air NZ) will also consider the feasibility of this approach, to ensure the best outcome for ultra-long haul flight planning.
If all parties are satisfied the trial has been successful, it is anticipated the new TAF content and/or issue frequency will be implemented for all International Aerodromes and RNZAF Base Ohakea during the second half of 2019.
Living with Volcanic Ash in New Zealand – this important handbook is being reviewed in light of changes in the domestic and international volcanic ash advisory systems. Version 14 should be completed and issued in mid-2019, once feedback from relevant parties is gained. The first issue was provided in 1996.
MetService MOU – A new Memorandum of Understanding has recently been finalised and been agreed between MetService and CAA. This document essentially sets out the current work and obligations of each organisation and as such defines the baseline provision of meteorological services to aviation including international, domestic and general aviation operations.
Global MET Work
Global (ICAO) Space Weather Systems – work continues under Peter Lechner’s guidance to set up the operational schema for the conjoint provision of space weather information by the designated global providers:
- United States
- PECASUS consortium (European consortium led by Finland and with UK as back-up)
- ACFJ consortium (Australia, Canada, France (Lead) and Japan)
- Potentially in the future; a Russia/China consortium
The anticipated commencement date for services of 7 November 2019.
To ensure the New Zealand Aviation community is fully briefed on the Space Weather System and how they can make full use of the products that will be issued, planning for a New Zealand industry briefing is underway as part of the MET Symposium (19 September), including an expert presentation from the University of Otago.
For further information on ICAO Space Weather Advisories:
VOLCEX – The Asia Pacific VOLCEX Steering Group typically organises two regional volcanic ash exercises each year, on a rotational basis in the Asia Pacific Region.
New Zealand and Fiji conducted an exercise in early May 2019 “APAC VOLCEX 19/01”, simulating an eruption of Raoul Island, with ash to moving north into Fiji airspace and contaminating Nadi and Nausori International Aerodromes. It was a desk-top exercise, with participants from GNS Science, MetService, Fiji Meteorological Service, Airways, Fiji Airports Ltd, Air NZ, Virgin Australia and Fiji Airways, with Qantas and VAAC Darwin as observers. The initial review of the exercise shows that the volcanic ash warning system worked as expected, but has also highlighted areas where the different organisations can work together to improve the overall responses.
The Asia Pacific VOLCEX Steering Group will meet 20-21 June 2019 in Bangkok to review the results of the exercise and to plan future exercises.
Australian Aviation Industry Consultative Meeting – Paula Acethorp participated in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) industry meeting over 26-27 February 2019. This meeting is held bi-annually as a communication forum between the BoM, CASA, AirServices and the key airlines (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, Air NZ), with MetService and CAA NZ also attending when possible. It reviews progress on agreed actions and develops improvement and new product initiatives – most of which is quite relevant to New Zealand. The various Australian players also participate in the New Zealand MET Symposium held each year for similar purposes.
19 December 2018
NZ MET Work
New MET expert capacity at CAA - In early August, Paula Acethorp joined the CAA as Chief Meteorological officer (Designate). Paula came from the Aviation Weather Services Manager position at MetService and is an experienced meteorologist, familiar with both New Zealand aviation meteorological systems and the global ICAO systems. At the end of May 2019, Paula will assume the full CMO responsibilities when Peter Lechner leaves the position after many years’ service.
In the meantime the CAA MET dream team consists of Peter Lechner (CMO) and Paula Acethorp (CMO(D)) full-time, supported part-time by Keith Mackersy (Senior Meteorological Specialist).
NZ MET Symposium/2 – The second NZ MET Symposium was successfully held on 3 October 2018 at CAA. 43 participants from across the industry in NZ, Australia and the South pacific were presented with development update perspectives from:
- International (ICAO) meteorological systems development (CAA),
- International and local meteorological systems development (MetService)
- Australian meteorological systems development (Bureau of Meteorology)
- Air traffic management in NZ (Airways)
- Pacific airlines perspectives (Fiji Airways)
- NSS meteorological focus (CAA)
Meeting outcomes included the closure of many previous actions showing good progress overall, new actions identified in optimising MET information for GA and looking for a better remedial strategy for South Pacific MET systems capacity and capability deficits (this having concomitant significant safety risk).
Refer to the meeting Report - New Zealand Aviation Meteorology Symposium (PDF 796 KB)
Refer here for all background material and presentations to the MET Symposiums.
Graphical Aviation Forecast Product (GRAFOR) – MetService and CAA work in the development of a graphical low level significant weather product was completed with the launch of the product in mid-year.
It consolidates the previous text ARFOR information into a graphical low level significant weather forecast over the whole country up to 10,000ft, and is accompanied by the Aviation Area Winds (AAW) that lists the traditional winds up to FL100 for each of the old ARFOR areas.
Refer to the GRAFOR User Guide (PDF 4.7 MB) for further information.
The GRAFOR is complemented by the Graphical NZ SIG Weather (GNZSIGWX) – depicting expected areas of moderate icing, CB, turbulence etc. at various flight level bands. (Operators should continue to monitor SIGMET and Graphical SIGMET for expected severe phenomena).
Longer International Aerodrome Forecasts – a decision has been taken reflecting demand from various airlines, to move from the current 24-hour aerodrome forecasts to 30-hour forecasts (T+30 TAF) for the international aerodromes, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
This decision reflects the global move to ultra-long-haul (ULH) operations. Working with MetService, the CAA is looking to implement the longer TAF by mid-2019, ensuring it is as robust as possible, and with an ongoing verification scheme to identify performance and improvement opportunities over time.
QNH Issues – work continues on the correction of use and supply of QNH at a number of secondary unattended aerodromes.
Refer here for article – Not Meeting the Ground Unexpectedly (page 18-19)
Global MET Work
ICAO MET Panel –The full ICAO MET Panel met formally in Montreal over 10-15 September, with Peter Lechner continuing as Chair, Paula Acethorp and Norm Henry (GM Science Strategy) in support as advisers. Around 80 papers were covered at the meeting resulting in a number of recommendations and decisions on approach to ongoing work in the various working groups.
The MET Panel completed its work on the development and standards for the Global Space Weather information system with recommendations to the ICAO Air Navigation Council:
- There should be two global centres supported by four regional centres.
- All nine of the volunteering States audited by specialists from the WMO were found capable of providing the defined services.
- The ICAO guidance developed is mature and was ratified at METP/4.
Here is the full MET Panel/4 Report
Global (ICAO) Space Weather Systems – As noted above, the MET Panel completed its work on the development of standards for the Global Space Weather information system, recommending to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission (ANC) two global centres supported by four regional centres. Despite the MET Panel and Air Navigation Commission recommendations, the ICAO Council made a decision that effectively set the scene for three global centres to be joined later by a fourth:
- United States
- PECASUS consortium (European consortium lead by Finland and with UK as back-up)
- ACFJ consortium (Australia, Canada, France (lead) and Japan)
- Potentially in the future; a Russia/ China consortium
Under Peter Lechner’s guidance, the MET Panel is currently working on the operational schema for the conjoint provision of space weather information. The group working on this matter consists of various MET Panel experts and representatives of the organisations and consortiums chosen by ICAO. The provision of the Space Weather Advisory information now specified in Annex 3 is expected to begin in the first half of 2019.
For further information refer to the Manual on Space Weather Information in Support of International Air Navigation.
ICAO/WMO Volcanic Ash Advisory System Meetings – CAA and MetService hosted a number of international meetings on the management and development of the ICAO airways volcano watch operations (IAVW) from 5 – 14 November 2018. The work of these meetings is critical to the ongoing utility of the IAVW:
- Best Practices meeting for the nine volcanic ash advisory centres – VAACs (WMO science and forecasting perspective) – MetService as host.
- Meeting of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Group (VASAG) – to further determine the path for ongoing scientific developments, especially now with regard to the probabilistic forecast of ash densities and trajectories – CAA as host. GNS scientists will also participate.
- Meeting of the ICAO MET Panel Operations Groups work stream on the management of and development of the IAVW – CAA as host.
- Meeting of the ICAO MET Information and Standards Development work stream on the management of and development of SO2 advisory products – CAA as host.
The most progressive outcome of the meetings was the acceptance that work can now start on the development of density/dose based forecasts of volcanic ash contamination to replace the current deterministic forecast. This will greatly assist aircraft operators to plan and manage flights in less-contaminated areas.
ICAO Air Navigation Conference - Peter Lechner participated at the ANC Conference (Montreal 9 – 19 October) along with the Director and Deputy Director, and Principal Policy Adviser CAA). On behalf of New Zealand, Peter presented a critical paper on the need for better support of the global meteorological effort:
AN-Conf/13-WP/183 Support of Ongoing Collaboration, Management, and Development of the Global Aeronautical Meteorological System:
In order to cope with current and future demands, States, international organisations, and ICAO will need to provide greater capability and capacity in order to effectively support and implement the aeronautical meteorological programme.
This paper observed the critical diminution of expert capacity in the MET field that will affect the GANP implementation if not addressed, especially within ICAO. Other States also presented papers in support of the situation and suitable recommendations from the Committee were accepted into the overall meeting report.
Refer to the report - (Agenda Item 2.3 and recommendation 2.3/1-4) for further information.
MET Panel Information Exchange and Requirements Implementations conjoint workshop – Over 26-28 November 2018, Humphrey Elton from MetService participated in a special workshop in Brussels covering the nature, direction and technical challenges facing the global MET community in the shift from traditional alphanumeric codes (TAC) to the ICAO mandated IWXXM format (extensible mark-up language). This workshop looked at issues relating to the production, transmission and use of the IWXXM formatted MET data within the context of technical governance in the ICAO mandated System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concept - also under development in the wider ICAO community of States.
It is not unreasonable to expect very significant challenges from the move from TAC to IWXXM over the next decade.
Regional MET work
Asian Meteorological Centre - An Asian Aviation Meteorological Centre (AAMC), jointly established by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), commenced operation in July 2018.
The three agencies work closely with meteorological organisations in the region to co-ordinate Significant Weather Information (SIGMET) with a view to improving the level of aviation meteorological services in the region.
The AAMC provides a weather monitoring platform for issuing forecasts and alerts on hazardous weather such as thunderstorms, turbulence, icing and is intended to assist meteorological organisations of neighbouring countries. The AAMC also provides a platform for forecasters from different areas to coordinate SIGMET information, with a view to improving the overall forecast quality in the region..
VOLCEX - 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. New Zealand, Australia and Fiji are planning to conduct an exercise in May 2019, which will simulate a volcanic ash event affecting the FIRs of the three countries.
Pacific Aviation Weather Services – At the recent Aviation Meteorology Symposium (Wellington, October 2018) a number of issues concerning the provision of aviation weather services in the Pacific were discussed. It was agreed that New Zealand and Australia would consider developing a joint Pacific Island assistance strategy to improve the provision of aviation weather products in the region.
14 June 2018
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 Grahical NZ SIGWX video.
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 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.
QNH Issues – 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.
MET Symposium/2 – 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 under the CAA webs site Meteorology pages New Zealand Meterology Symposium Aug 2017 (PDF 68 KB)
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.
VOLCEX - 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.
MET Panel – 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 April2018 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 .
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.
The MET Panel GANIS presentations can be viewed here Global Air Navigation Information Symposium 2017.
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.
PANS-MET – 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.
WAFS Improvements – 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 working group.
Radiation SIGMET - 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.
MetService Resilience – CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland.
Single GA Portal – See: http://www.ifis.airways.co.nz/
Full GA MET – See: http://metflight.metra.co.nz/MetFlight.php
30 November 2017
MET Symposium - the CAA held a successful aviation MET symposium on 31 August 2017 in Wellington. The objective was 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. A number of the participants have defined actions to pursue and report back to the next symposium.
Copies of the various presentations and papers can be found under the heading MET Symposium 2017 under the CAA web site Meteorology pages New Zealand Meterology Symposium Aug 2017 (PDF 68 KB) and a full meeting summary:- ICAO Capacity and Efficienty - Panel Meetings.
WMO Aeronautical Meteorology Scientific Conference - held in Toulouse, November 6-10 and organised by the WMO commissions for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM), for Atmospheric Science (CAS) and for Basic Systems (CBS), in conjunction with the French aviation meteorological service provider, Meteo-France.
Particpants from New Zealand were MetService’s Manager Aviation Weather Services Paula Acethorp and Senior Scientist Cory Davis (unfortunately no-one from CAA was able to attend). The conference was well attended by scientists focusing on many aspects of aviation meteorology, as well as those from operational forecasting centres, the ATM industry and airports, IATA and IFALPA, and also from companies such as AirBus, Thales and Selex ES.
The content of the conference was largely driven by the meteorological requirements of ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), and its constituent Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs). There was emphasis on seamlessness, (gate-to-gate), very high resolution nowcasting around the aerodrome to global NWP forecasts en-route, and the translation of MET information to the respective user domains (air traffic management, pilots, airlines). There was also a session dedicated to the impact of climate change on aviation, where research is suggesting that the frequency of extreme turbulence events will increase.
The conference was very successful, with outcomes emphasising the importance for conveying uncertainty in forecasts to the users, the need to accelerate the transition of forecasting and observing techniques from research into operations and that the need for collaboration between research, operations and industry should be actively encouraged as an enabler to future global interoperability and harmonisation.
A link to the final Report will be provided in due course.
MET Panel Updates – various working group and key work stream updates reported:
Space Weather (pivotal support to GNSS based PBN/TBO operations and HF communication)
- The WMO has started the capability and capacity assessment of States wishing to provide space weather data within the global space weather system. New Zealand will not have a role in the system other than ensuring operators are able to receive the various types of warnings.
- It is being recommended there should initially be 4 PSW centres.
- An ICAO Space Weather Manual is nearing completion - excellent reference for understanding the operational and scientific issues as well as the warning products to be provided from late 2019.
The use of a simple cylinder, of diameter 30km to FL999, to denote an area of radioactive material (released accidentally or otherwise) has been reaffirmed. Hence the SIGMET will state the time and location of the release with the cylinder of airspace centred on the location.
Currently New Zealand has filed a difference in that it does not issue such SIGMET. While this will change soon, it is hoped such a message will not be needed!
QNH Issues – recent operator concerns at the incorrect use and supply of QNH resulted in a CAA review of the situation. An article covering these matters was published in the November/December Vector. It outlined who can provide QNH, and how it must be used. Some aerodromes are stating that a QNH is supplied when it is not and some pilots are incorrectly using remote QNH including when it is not permitted.
Work has been initiated to correct various aerodrome charts in the AIP – replacing incorrect QNH availability statements with a statement advising the use of the Remote QNH Procedure.
Graphical GA Weather Product – CAA continues to work with MetService 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. Watch for further information.
Graphical SIG Weather - There is also to be a MetService graphical significant weather product to depict expected areas of moderate icing, CB, turbulence etc. This product will eventually replace the current textual SGWX product and be provide for various flight level bands, including surface to FL100. Operators should continue to monitor SIGMET and Graphical SIGMET for expected severe phenomena. Watch for further information.
MetService SMS certification – In early November MetService successfully underwent its SMS evaluation by the CAA’s new SMS crew. MetService is probably one of very few aviation meteorological organisations that have implement the ICAO SMS systems.
MetService Resilience – CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre are underway, although this is not easily transparent to the user should they be interested.
Single GA Portal - See: http://www.ifis.airways.co.nz/
Full GA MET - See: http://metflight.metra.co.nz/MetFlight.php
26 June 2017
MET Symposium – the CAA is co-ordinating an aviation MET symposium on 31 August 2017 (0830 - 1630) in Wellington. The objective is 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.
If you have not already done so, please advise us if you would like to take part. A good cross-section of people have registered their interest - but more is better! Email: Peter.Lechner@caa.govt.nz.
The symposium will cover:
International meteorological (MET) system developments and progress.
MetService overview and current product review
RPAS and other new Tech
Establishing clear base-line MET
Future Meeting structure
MET Panel Updates – various working group and work stream updates reported (see http://www.icao.int/airnavigation/METP/Pages/Panel-Meetings.aspx):
Volcanic Ash (IAVW system) – from June 2017 Tokyo involving both WMO and ICAO METP
The launches and deployment of the Himawari-8 and GOES-16 geostationary satellites together with the existing Meteosat Second Generation platform and the roll-out of the Copernicus satellite constellation are enabling significant advances in the science and global availability of satellite-derived volcanic ash products.
Rolls-Royce have recently issued a notice regarding its RB211 and Trent engine providing volcanic ash dose rates that can be accepted:
Engines exposed to a cumulative volcanic ash dose of 14.4 g s/m3 or lower, between actual volcanic ash concentrations of 0.2 to 4 mg/m3 should not lead to a significant reduction in engine related flight safety margins (e.g. 2 hours at 2 mg/m3).
Along with significant advances in modelling VA trajectories, it is likely that international work will proceed on the next generation of volcanic ash advisory products, most likely providing spatial and temporal ash density information.
The consensus of experts at the meetings was that the aviation colour code should be removed from the current atmosphere focused volcanic ash advisory and restricted to the volcano focused Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation (VONA). Similarly, the elevation of the VONA to a recommended practice in ICAO Annex 3 was supported.
Work has also started in finding a routine way in which pilots can easily report no-ash during volcanic events, and on easily identifying re-suspended ash in the various advisory messages.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) – from June 2017 in Tokyo involving both WMO and ICAO METP
Renewed work has begun on developing a warning system for SO2 clouds that can be co-existent with volcanic ash cloud, separated, or emitted in a gas only eruption.
SO2 can have a negative effect on the performance and health of crewmembers and passengers. It can also cause hot corrosion in engines, window crazing and other economic effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sets maximum exposure guidelines, but not all States support these guidelines. Further, existing guidelines are intended for ground level and do not consider the issue at altitude or within the aircraft.
Work is required in defining the warning product system with relation to the various cabin air-management systems and acceptable dose rates for people.
Space Weather (pivotal support to GNSS based PBN/TBO operations and HF communication)
The completed draft Standards and Recommended practices (SARPs) under ICAO Annex 3, and consequential amendments, to establish the ICAO global space weather information service, have been accepted by ICAO and are currently out for final comment by States.
The WMO is shortly to start the capability and capacity assessment of States wishing to provide space weather data within the global space weather system. New Zealand will not have a role in the system other than ensuring operators are able to receive the various types of warnings.
IWXXM and SWIM
The gradual movement from product centric MET information to data centric information provision continues with new recommendations being introduced in Annex 3 soon. This will allow for the provision of IWXXM (XML/GML code forms) versions of standard MET products such as TAF and METAR in parallel with the traditional alpha-numeric versions for the time being. All of these changes fit within the overall movement to the system wise information management approach as part of the ICAO GANP.
Graphical GA Weather Product – CAA continues to work with MetService 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.
MetService Resilience – CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre are underway, although this is not easily transparent to the user should they be interested.
Single GA Portal – See: http://www.ifis.airways.co.nz/
Full GA MET – See: http://metflight.metra.co.nz/MetFlight.php
12 January 2017
Single GA Portal - We are pleased to advise that the single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information within the Airways IFIS system has been operational since December. Our thanks to Airways and MetService for getting this project completed in time for use over the busy summer flying season. See: www.ifis.airways.co.nz
Work will continue to find a way of providing graphical MET information over the same platform. In the meantime, the full suite of MET information remains available on MetFlight-GA.
MET Access In-flight - recently CAA Legal confirmed that GA pilots operating VFR can legally access MET information using their cellular/data tablet devices in-flight (MetFlight, IFIS etc). This legal view was sought to clarify a level of misunderstanding in the GA community. Note that this is not the case with any form of IFR operation - cellular/data tablet devices cannot be use in-flight as part of the operation of the aircraft.
Australasian MET Authorities Meeting - In December 2016 the CAA hosted the first of an expected on-going series of collaborative meetings with the Australian MET Authority. The meeting, also attended by MetService, proved valuable with both parties undertaking good actions from the meeting. Generally speaking, the following was covered:
Regulation, compliance, and promotion.
ICAO interaction and responsibilities.
Domestic operations - successes and challenges.
New Zealand automatic instrumentation (METAR AUTO etc).
Fiji CAA and MET Service - In November the CAA undertook on behalf of the Fijian CAA, a review of the Fiji MET Service with regard to Part 174, Meteorological Services adopted by Fiji. This project proved invaluable in building good relations with both Fiji CAA and Fiji Met Service and we look forward to a good ongoing collaborative relationship with both.
Tonga Met Service - On Boxing day, the CAA was contacted by the Tonga Met Service to explain that the large plume probably visible in satellite imagery was not a volcanic eruption but a very large fire at the main rubbish dump on Tongatapu. This information was passed on the MetService VAAC here in Wellington. The communication is a welcome example of the way Pacific Island States are becoming more comfortable in regional MET development and operational communications.
Graphical GA Weather Product - CAA continues to work with MetService 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.
MetService Resilience - CAA continues to work with MetService as they implement their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre are underway, although this is not easily transparent to the user should they be interested.
MET Liaison Meeting - the CAA is planning to hold a meeting of all parties with MET interests later this year in Wellington (Airlines, GA, MetService, Airways, MoT, CAA etc). The objective will be to provide respective briefings on critical local and international MET developments, identify challenges, and agree appropriate work programmes. It is envisaged that this meeting would become an annual event.
MET Syllabi - CAA is currently well down the track in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for PPL, CPL and ATPL. The proposals are currently on the CAA web site for public comment. These close 25th January, with expected implementation toward the end of 2017. See: www.caa.govt.nz/pilots/pilot-syllabus-info/pilot-syllabus-assistance/
MET Panel - The ICAO MET Panel had its second full meeting in October 2016. A thumbnail view on the outcomes (see www.icao.int/airnavigation/METP/Pages/Panel-Meetings.aspx for full report):
Space Weather (pivotal support of PBN/TBO operations)
Completed Concept of Operations, and functional and performance requirements for global space weather information,
Completed draft Standards and Recommended practices (SARPs) under ICAO Annex 3, and consequential amendments, to establish the ICAO global space weather information service, and
Completed criteria and process to select provider(s) of ICAO global space weather information capability (with assistance of World Meteorological Organisation - WMO).
Radiation (Covers both accidental and planned/aggressive release of radioactive material)
Completed draft SARP for Annex 3 for the provision of a cylinder-shaped SIGMET (to describe areas affected by the release of radioactive material), and
Completed amendments to current guidance material.
Volcanic Ash (Consolidation of IAVW system)
Completed revision of Volcanic Ash Roadmap, and
Inclusion of development plans for the introduction of Sulphur-Dioxide (SO2) warnings.
XML/GML Met information formats (transition to data-centric approach to MET)
Completed Guidelines for the Implementation of OPMET Data Exchange using IWXXM;
Inclusion of Status indicators and Translation Centre information in IWXXM messages;
New provisions for IWXXM (standard in 2020); and
Draft global MET-SWIM Plan and Roadmap.
Global Operations (operational management of global MET systems)
Successfully transitioned the existing operations groups (WAFSOPSG, SADISOPSG and IAVWOPSG) into the METP Working Group on Operations;
Provision of reference data for visualising WAFS gridded forecasts of cumulonimbus cloud, icing and turbulence;
Creating WAFS Medium Level Strategy for ASBU Block 1 (2018- 2023);
Ceased Satellite element of SADIS service on 31st July 2016 and assisted States transition to the Internet based component of the service; and
Extended the area of responsibility of VAAC Tokyo (now have global coverage from the 9 VAACs).
Hazardous Weather Information
Reports were received on the work being done on the development of regional hazardous weather information systems.
Current thinking is that a new global system of hazardous weather information generated on a regional basis (rather than and FIR basis) will better meet user needs.
Cost Recovery and Governance
Accepted initial draft White Paper the future delivery of MET information to international aviation (out to 2035) – consequential re-draft due in March 2017
18 August 2016
Single GA Portal – Airways is working on the software revisions needed to implement the single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information within their IFIS system (which in itself is currently undergoing a makeover). Implementation is now expected in September 2016 (note that work will continue past this date to find a way of providing graphical MET information over the same platform).
Queenstown – The CAA has completed its review on the MET needs of Queenstown Airport with respect to its increasing international operations. As a result the NZQN TAF format will not be changed from its current domestic form but will now be made available through the ICAO OPMET exchange systems (ROBEX bulletins). To better inform MetService forecasters, Airways will provide textual AFIS information directly, and a new 360 degree camera system is expected to be installed. Given the continuing growth of international traffic at Queenstown, a further MET review will be undertaken in a few years.
MET Syllabus – CAA is currently well down the track in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for PPL, CPL and ATPL. Greg Reeve, MetService Military Meteorologist, has been providing significant expert support to the project. As previously reported the basic idea is to streamline each syllabus ensuring what that it provides a clear practical benefit in the conduct of PPL, CPL and ATPL operations.
MetService Resilience – CAA continues to work with MetService as they gradually develop their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland with MetService beginning operating aviation MET production shifts from their new production centre in Auckland at the beginning of July.
MET Panel – The ICAO MET Panel is due for its second Meeting in October 2016. What is becoming clear to all of the Met Panel experts and advisers is that the systems and very nature of provision of meteorological information to international aviation needs to be completely revised. In this regard, several MET Panel working groups are beginning work on future user requirements and technology GAP analyses. In parallel a White Paper on Aviation MET Information Delivery in 2035 is currently being refined for presentation at the MET Panel meeting. The work involved in defining and implementing this global change will be extensive. It will require significant long term support from New Zealand.
One of the key aspects of the new global MET system is likely to be the provision of 4 dimensional seamless hazardous weather information and data (ash, tropical cyclone, icing, turbulence, thunderstorms, mountain waves, radiation).
High Level Ice Crystal Icing – Readers are reminded of this emerging issue. A recently published major incident report noted probable cause as ice-crystal icing. See A346, en route, eastern Indian Ocean, 2013 on Skybrary, and on the CAA MET web page, High Level Ice Crystal Icing.
Importantly it should be noted that that SIGMETs and SIGWX forecasts do not currently provide specific information about ice crystal icing. However, the inclusion of information concerning thunderstorms, especially in tropical areas, can provide pilots with an indication of the potential risk of encountering high level areas of hazardous ice crystals.
VAAC Confidence levels - Following agreement at WMO Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) “Best Practice” Workshop earlier in 2016, it was agreed to trial the use of a statement outlining the forecaster confidence in the T+0 ash polygon (T+0 means the time of the observed or estimated ash polygon). The statement will appear at the start of the RMK section of the Volcanic Ash Advisory message (VAA) and will take the form “T+0 CONFIDENCE HIGH” or “T+0 CONFIDENCE LOW”. Note – for a VAA to be issued, a forecaster must first have high confidence in the existence of ash. The confidence statement in the VAA RMK then refers to the area of the ash depicted.
If “T+0 CONFIDENCE HIGH” is used, this means that recent satellite imagery provides strong evidence of the horizontal boundary of the ash cloud. The ash is clearly discernible on RGB and/or visible imagery. In addition, the forecaster must also have strong evidence of the vertical extent of the ash cloud – this may be in the form of radar imagery if there is a radar close enough to the volcano, or it could be a volcanologist observation.
If “T+0 CONFIDENCE LOW” is used, this means that there may only be strong evidence for either the horizontal or vertical extent of the ash cloud – not both. This may be due to the ash cloud being either partially or fully obscured by meteorological cloud, or due to no strong observations of the vertical extent of the ash cloud.
Volcanic Ash Exercise – a further ICAO co-ordinated VOLPHIN 16/2 volcanic ash exercise is being planned with the Wellington VAAC (MetService) again playing a watching role. In future exercises in the Australia/Pacific/NZ areas VAAC Wellington will take a more significant part.
16 February 2016
MetFlight-GA – Since MetFlight-GA received government funding last July, usage seems to have dropped off. This is disappointing given the efforts of many to get government funding. It is suspected that the reason may be that many people are using single logon identification. The CAA would like to reiterate that there is now absolutely no cost for bona-fide pilots to have access to MetFlight-GA.
Graphical ARFORs – Some promising work is being done by MetService on the provision of graphical Area Forecasts (ARFORs) – along the style lines of the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) product. CAA is liaising and providing assistance where it can.
Single GA Portal – The need for a single GA portal for NOTAM, aerodrome, and MET information, promoted by various organisations including AOPA and NZ Aviation Federation, has gained more prominence lately with the two key service organisations, MetService and Airways, meeting to discuss a way forward.
MET Syllabus – CAA is currently in the process of reviewing the MET syllabi for CPL and ATPL. The review perspective is that anything that does not provide a clear practical benefit in the conduct of CPL and ATPL operations is a candidate for relegation from the respective syllabus.
Ideas Invited – the CAA has put a large amount of effort into the meteorology area over the last few years as there is a clear need for better understanding and use of meteorological information. The CAA believes that it needs to continue its efforts in an ongoing manner. Ideas on how this might take shape are invited – please contact Peter.Lechner@caa.govt.nz
Queenstown – The CAA is conducting a review to establish whether Queenstown Airport should be elevated to an international airport under Annex 3 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. This would require a different level of instrumentation and support from MetService. In this regard the CAA is engaging with the various stakeholders to establish the situation before any decision is made one way or the other. The project should be completed in a few months.
D-VOLMET – Airways, as part of NZs international obligations under Annex 3 is establishing a D-VOLMET service. CAA has been working with Airways in this regard recently – the new service will ultimately replace the old HF VOLMET system. Under D-VOLMET all of the OPMET information for the NZ FIRs will be available – including all SIGMETs in full. The current information is severely truncated due to the lack of broadcast time (5 minutes only!).
MET Redundancy – CAA continues to work with MetService as they gradually develop their alternate aviation MET production site in Auckland. Having both Auckland and Kelburn production centres able to produce all of the aviation MET data required at any time will be a huge advance in ensuring there are no outages in this important stream of aviation data.
MET Panel – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) MET Panel has had a number of meetings over recent months. Two meetings in North America covered the development of the GML/XML progression of MET data, the development of the global space weather warning system, the development of radioactive material SIGMET or warning system, the development of the regional hazardous weather centres, and the development of the MET support for the ICAO global air navigation programme along with the development of a PANS-MET type document to supplement a trimmed down Annex 3 - see Met Panel.
MET Governance – a joint meeting was held in December in Wellington for global experts under both the World Meteorological Organization and ICAO (MET Panel) umbrellas looking at the significant governance and funding issues faced by the global MET community. The meetings were clear about the complex nature of these issues and the need for significant progress along the lines of regionalization and globalization as this is increasingly supported by both technology and fiscal drivers.
Volcanic Ash Exercise – the ICAO co-ordinated VOLPHIN 16/1 volcanic ash exercise this month is focused on the Philippines with the Wellington VAAC (MetService) playing a watching role. In future exercises in the Australia/Pacific/NZ areas VAAC Wellington will play a central role.
Vietnam – the CAA and MetService is looking forward to a visit from Officials from Vietnam who are interested in the way in which New Zealand operates its aviation MET provision and international engagement. We note that for the last decade or so Vietnam has put significant effort into its MET programme and has made tremendous progress.
31 July 2015
MetFlight-GA – Usage of MetFlight-GA has risen since it received government funding.
Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) – The GSM product is now operational for both NZZC and NZZO FIRs – it can be accessed on MetFlight-GA, Met JET and other MetService systems. The CAA has produced a GSM user guide (PDF 2.1 MB).
Flight Instructor Seminar 2015 – This year the focus is on How to Teach Met. The two-day flight instructor seminars are targeted at new C-Category (Aeroplane/Helicopter), and microlight, flight instructors. The seminars will be presented by well-respected aviation meteorologist Greg Reeve. The seminars are at Masterton, Ashburton and Auckland. See "Seminars and Courses" for further information.
Asia Pacific Regional MET Development – CAA and MetService will participate in early August in the annual ICAO Asia Pacific Meteorology meeting in Bangkok. Discussions will focus on developing existing products, reducing SIGMET deficiencies, inter-State co-operation and collaboration and new regional hazardous weather concepts.
Volcanic Ash Graphic – The standard Volcanic Ash Advisory Graphic (VAG) has been sharpened up with the implementation of new production methods at MetService. The improved VAG is now operational from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) - but there has been no volcanic action in the Wellington VAAC region to trigger it to date.
Ideas Invited – the CAA has put a large amount of effort into the meteorology area over the last few years as there is a clear need for better understanding and use of meteorological information. With the conclusion of the AvKiwi effort recently, and the Flight Instructor Seminars at the end of August 2015, the CAA believes that it needs to continue its efforts in an ongoing manner. Ideas on how this might take shape are invited – please contact Peter.Lechner@caa.govt.nz
21 May 2015
MetFlight-GA – The CAA has confirmation that Government will be funding MetFlight-GA (the web based product for private pilots only) from 01 July 2015 – as part of the 2015 Budget tabled in Parliament yesterday. The funding is contained within the disbursements to Vote Transport for public weather forecasting services for the MoT-MetService public weather services contract. Well done to the MoT Team who picked up this important task.
There will be some transition issues to wash-up existing subscription payments so the actual start of the no-charge service to private pilots may be a bit later than 1 July 2015. MetService is currently assessing how quickly it can implement the IT changes needed.
MetService Backup Facility and Final Radar - The 2015 Budget has also included provision for MetService to establish a new disaster recovery backup facility and to build new weather radar in Central Otago to fill a gap in MetService’s existing radar coverage. Both of these developments will have positive benefits to aviation meteorology.
New MetService Aviation Manager – the CAA welcomes Paula Acethorp to the position of Manager Aviation Forecasting at MetService. Paula is now responsible for the production of all aviation meteorological products. We also wish Marcel Roux, the previous incumbent, all the best in his new position at MetService.
Meteorology Panel – Peter Lechner, New Zealand’s expert nominee, was elected Chairman of the ICAO Meteorology Panel in late April. The panel consists of invited international experts and has started on overhauling the provision of global MET for aviation. The Panel has 4 working groups supporting it, each lead by a Rapporteur who are, in turn, is supported by task or work stream co-ordinators;
- Requirements and Integration
- Information and Service Development
- Information Exchange
New Zealand has nominated experts to participate in most of the working groups. Also, a small group of experts lead by Peter will be working on the thorny issue of cost recovery guidance.
Graphical SIGMET – The CAA has been working closely with MetService on final development matters around the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) implementation – still timed for 31 July 2015. The product looks really good and is easy to understand. There will be one GSM for the NZZC FIR and another for the NZZO FIR. Issues on map projection south of 60°S means that the NZZO GSM will cut off at 60°S for the time being. Most likely a second panel for the area 60°S to the Pole will eventually be needed in the NZZO GSM.
Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre – Both CAA and MetService participated in a workshop in London early in May focusing on the further development and alignment of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre production systems.
Volcanic Ash Graphic –The new product is still expected to be available from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) from 31 July 2015.
AvKiwi – The CAA’s AvKiwi theme, Weather Matters, is being well received around the country. The last round of seminars is due to start in Tauranga in mid-June. Refer to the back cover of Vector for the Seminar dates.
AWS Symbols – the CAA continues to work on the introduction of symbols on the aerodrome charts in the NZAIP showing the location of automatic weather stations – but this is currently a lower priority. The intention is to provide contextual information to the AUTO METAR information routinely provided at such aerodromes.
30 March 2015
MetService Resilience – The CAA continues to work closely with MetService in their planning for the implementation of a new business continuation/systems resilience scheme.. This initiative reflects the strategically critical nature of the supply of meteorological information to aviation.
NSS Related Work – Related to the New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan project, a small working group has been formed between Airways, MetService and CAA to define the future Airways operational meteorological information needs. That work is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService has completed its work on the implementation of a new volcanic ash graphic (VAG) production system. The new product will be available from the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (MetService) from 31 July 2015. The long delay has been the result of difficult IT issues in moving to a new production platform.
Graphical SIGMET – MetService has completed its work on the implementation of a new graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs - called the Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM). The product will be available from 31 July 2015 through MetService’s aviation web services, including MetFlight, and will also be added to packages of products provided to commercial operators. The long delay has been the result of difficult IT issues in moving to a new production platform.
AvKiwi – The CAA’s AvKiwi theme this year is Weather Matters. This initiative is aimed at further assisting people in their appreciation of the need for ensuring access to good meteorological information, the understanding of that information, and the critical application of that understanding to decision making. Refer to the back cover of Vector for the Seminar dates.
AWS Symbols – the CAA is working on a proposal to introduce symbols on the aerodrome charts in the NZAIP showing the location of automatic weather stations. The intention is to provide contextual information to the AUTO METAR information routinely provided at such aerodromes.
Meteorology Panel – New Zealand’s expert nominee to the inaugural April 2015 International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Meteorology Panel will be Peter Lechner. The panel consists of invited experts from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Oman, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, ASECNA, EASA, IATA, IFALPA, and WMO. It is expected that the Met Panel, working much like an international corporate board, will start on overhauling the provision of global MET for aviation in relation to the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan and other technical and user drivers.
WMO Expert Team on governance – the CAA is also taking part in a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology Expert Team on Governance. The task of this team is to review the ICAO-WMO letters of co-operation and to provide more detailed guidance and assistance to State meteorological services with regard to their overall management and governance of respective meteorological service supply organisations.
ICAO Ad Hoc Groups – New Zealand is the Rapporteur for two ICAO Asia Pacific Region Ad Hoc Groups. One is concerned with improving the availability of SIGMET information in the region, especially in States not currently issuing SIGMETs regularly, or not at all. Another Ad Hoc group is developing SIGMET pamphlets to assist States, expecially in the Asia Pacific Region, with guidance on the correct formatting and issue of SIGMETs. The pamphlets will be provided in pdf format for downloading from selected websites.
Changes in AUTO METAR abbreviations – Some changes have been made in alpha-numeric codes used in METAR AUTO messages:
- The code NDV with regard to visibility in domestic METAR AUTO messages is discontinued. This change was made for consistency with international standards and to obviate user unfamiliarity. It should be well understood that METAR AUTO visibility data does not provide any directional information.
- The code NCD will be used when no cloud is detected below 10,000ft, even though the AWS’s ceilometer may still be detecting cloud layers above 10,000ft. This is to be consistent with international standards and practices.
These changes will be reflected in amendments to AIP GEN 3.5-6, GEN 3.5-31 & GEN 3.5-42 and the meteorology reference material on the CAA’s web site.
22 January 2015
Foreign Operators – The CAA requires foreign air transport operators, whether Part 129 Certificated, private or charter, to uplift their requisite meteorological information from a certificated or otherwise approved supplier of aviation meteorological information. This requirement has been in effect for some time. An explanation and background to the requirement has recently been posted on the Meteorology page of the CAA web site under the heading Weather Information Requirements for Foreign Operators.
MetService Resilience – The CAA is working closely with MetService in their planning for the implementation of a new business continuation/systems resilience scheme. This work and investment is expected to lift the overall uptime of MetService’s aviation production IT systems so it is more fault tolerant and can fully withstand unplanned events. This initiative reflects the strategically critical nature of the supply of meteorological information to aviation.
NSS Related Work – Related to the New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan project, a small working group has been formed between Airways, MetService and CAA to define the future Airways operational meteorological information needs. That work is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService has almost completed its work on the implementation of a new volcanic ash graphic (VAG) production system. The product will have a much crisper look representing a more robust and accurate production.
Graphical SIGMET – The development of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs, by MetService, continues to progress. Implementation is now expected early late March/Early April 2015.
14 November 2014
Graphical SIGMET – The development of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC and NZZO FIRs, by MetService, continues to progress. Implementation is expected early in 2015. The product will be called a Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM). Essentially it will show all current SIGMET in the NZZC or NZZO FIRs at any point in time, and will be updated on the issue of any new SIGMET or the cancellation of any SIGMETs. An article will appear in the next issue of Vector accompanied by a indicative example of a GSM for the NZZC FIR.
Volcanic Ash Graphic – MetService is working on the implementation of a volcanic ash graphic (VAG) that will show expected ash position at 24 hours from time of issue. The current VAG only goes out to 18 hours. The new product (T+24) is deemed experimental and will only be provided in graphic form. All nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres around the globe are or will also shortly be issuing the experimental T+24 VAG. Experience with the product will inform the eventual standardisation by ICAO.
Runway Visual Range at NZCH – The CAA has been working for some time with Airways Corp. in their installation of transmissiometers and associated systems at Christchurch International Aerodrome. This equipment is now operational so Runway Visual Range (RVR) information will be provided to pilots by ATC when appropriate. The RVR system will initially allow Cat I approaches to be undertaken, moving to CAT II and Cat III in due course after gaining sufficient operational experience. MetService has completed its work to ensure RVR information will also be included in METAR AUTO reports for Christchurch.
NSS Met Provision Policy Review – The New Southern Sky, National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan, includes a section on the MET changes and developments needed. The last task line item, Policy and Regulatory Change, involves the review of the provision and funding of aviation meteorological services. It will take account of the markedly different technical and business environment such services are now provided compared to the times of implementing the current system. The lead for this work is most likely to be the Ministry of Transport closely assisted by the CAA.
05 September 2014
Meteorology Sub-group Meeting – The Keith Mackersy (CAA) participated in this annual ICAO regional meeting in Beijing in August. The meeting reviewed MET deficiencies across the region, and particular attention was given to a long standing deficiency concerning the lack of information on hazardous weather (SIGMETs) for three FIRs in the equatorial area to the north of Australia and New Zealand. These FIRs are affected by frequent thunderstorms and volcanic activity. The meeting agreed to establish a small group comprising New Zealand (lead), Australia, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia, to develop bilateral solutions reasonably quickly. It is expected that this will be an interim solution until an ICAO expert group has addressed the question of developing Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Centres where needed. This was a key outcome from the Meteorology Divisional Meeting held in Montreal in July.
(The Meteorology Sub-group meeting routinely considers all matters concerning meteorology in the Asia and Pacific region including the World Area Forecast System (WAFS), meteorological advisories and warnings (volcanic ash, tropical cyclones, SIGMETs, wind shear, tsunamis, radioactive material and space weather), operational meteorological data exchange and the transition to digital exchange using XML/GML, support to air traffic management, QMS, meteorological forecaster and observer competency and training)
Supplementary SIGMET – CAA continues in its efforts to broker a solution for passing SIGMET information (for NZZC only), in a easily understandable form, to aircraft in flight.
Graphical SIGMET – The final development phases and implementation of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC FIR, by MetService, is now progressing. Currently implementation is expected before the end of the year.
AvKiwi – work is progressing well on developing material, process and content for the 2015 AvKiwi programme that will focus on understanding and applying meteorological information. Further information on this key programme will be forthcoming early in 2015.
15 August 2014
Supplementary SIGMET – CAA continues in its efforts to broker a solution for passing SIGMET information (for NZZC only), in a easily understandable form, to aircraft in flight. The development by MetService of this special product for Airways use (only) is delayed.
Graphical SIGMET – The final development phases and implementation of a graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC FIR, by MetService, remains delayed due to its dependence of the completion of the Supplementary SIGMET.
Weather Radar – the final Doppler weather radar in the MetService network was formally opened on 28 July 2014 near Whangaroa , in Northland. The CAA recognises and supports the significance of the particular radar, and the overall network, to aviation safety and air traffic management. It is expected that the radar output will be made available during the second half of August 2014 – accessible through the MetService aviation and public forecasting web-based products.
ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - The CAA participated in the ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting and conjoint World Meteorological Organization meeting over in July 2014 at ICAO HQ in Montreal. Peter Lechner was elected Chairman of the meeting that was attended by 308 participants from 95 States and 7 international organisations. Recognising the strategic direction provided by ICAO’s revised Global Air Navigation Plan, the meeting set out recommendations aligned with the aviation system block upgrade (ASBU) methodology, including the integration of digital meteorological information into the future system-wide information management (SWIM) environment. SWIM is seen as a critical component of the future global air traffic management system. Specific recommendations were made on meteorological services for all phases of flight, including those relating to volcanic ash, radioactive material in the atmosphere and space weather. Institutional issues were also addressed, including meteorological authority designation, cost recovery, regional and sub-regional cooperation, quality management, data quality and personnel competency. These conclusions reflected key elements in the two papers presented by New Zealand (see documentation on: ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting 2014). Given the far reaching nature of the recommendations of the meeting, it is expected that New Zealand, including the CAA, MetService and Airways, will need to increase their development work in the MET field – partly in line with the New Southern Skies programme.
Meteorology Sub-group Meeting # 18 - SG – The CAA (Keith Mackersy) will shortly participate in this meeting in Beijing. This annual ICAO regional meeting considers all matters concerning meteorology in the Asia and Pacific region including the World Area Forecast System, meteorological advisories and warnings (volcanic ash, tropical cyclones, SIGMETs, wind shear, tsunamis, radioactive material and space weather), operational meteorological data exchange and the transition to digital exchange using XML/GML, support to air traffic management, QMS, meteorological forecaster and observer competency and training. The SG also reviews MET deficiencies in the region. Most importantly, this meeting is expected to make recommendations on the early implementation of Regional Hazardous Weather Advisory Centres – RHWACs. (see documentation on: ICAO Asia and Pacific Meeting 2013 Met SG/17). It is likely Australia and New Zealand will work collaboratively on the implementation of the RHWAC concept in the Pacific region.
DeepWave NZ Experiment – This multinational experiment was concluded on 21 July 2014. The project gained a very good set of data on gravity waves, and New Zealand benefited through the immediate economic spin-off. The co-ordinators were impressed that New Zealand was able to step up for the experiment when other countries could not or would not. The performance of Airways in the oversight of flight operations involving the US and German aircraft was professional and faultless – as expected.
26 June 2014
Graphical SIGMET – work on the development and deployment of a graphical form of SIGMET (as per ICAO standards) has been delayed due to various technical considerations around the shape of the product and the requisite and pending production processes at MetService. The upside of the delay is that the format and approach has been revised to provide a more easily usable and representative product. MetService is currently working on this project from the revised CAA specification. That specification now calls for a Graphical SIGMET Monitor (GSM) rather than a separate graphic for each and every textual SIGMET issued. This graphical product will depict all current SIGMETs on one graphic, one for each of the NZZC and NZZO FIRs. As any of textual SIGMETs is cancelled, updated, or new SIGMET issued, then a new GSM product will be issued – hence the GSM will be up to date at all times. Implementation date to be advised.
SIGMET voice transmission – with the implementation of the GSM product and MetServices’ new IBL production systems, the current method of translating the textual SIGMET latitude and longitude information to place names for passing to aircraft in flight will not be possible. Under the new production system the areas of severe meteorological conditions advised in the standard textual SIGMET will be defined much more concisely using a polygon; for example: WI S4130 E17448 – S3927 E17540 - S4329 E17200 - S4130 E17448. The CAA has provided a specification to MetService that is expected address this issue by ensuring Airways ATS offices continue to have a parallel word picture product to convey the SIGMET polygon location to aircraft in flight within the New Zealand FIR (NZZC) – eg: translating the latitudes and longitudes in the previous example renders: WI 10 S Wellington to Waiouru to 25 W Christchurch to 10 S Wellington. This supplementary approach will continue to need to be treated as approximate. Implementation date to be advised.
Aerodrome Climatologies – the CAA, as the Meteorological Authority under ICAO, is obliged to ensure that international civil aviation has access to climatological data for New Zealand international aerodromes. To date this has been achieved through the provision of blue book Aerodrome Climatologies compiled by the old Meteorological Service in the 1980’s (for all New Zealand aerodromes). The CAA is currently working with NIWA to update the climateological data for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown aerodromes. At this stage it is envisaged that the new data will be made available on the CAA web site.
27 May 2014
DeepWave Experiment – All civil aviation arrangements for the DeepWave experiment are now in place. Airways Corporation has issued its internal operations notice and information on the overall operations now resides in the AIP NZ Supplements (58/14 NZ Domestic and Auckland Oceanic Airspace: Atmospheric Research Project ‘Deepwave’ 15 JUN to 21 JUL 14). Further background information can be seen at EOL - Quick Questions for Deepwave PIs.
Graphical SIGMET – Meetings have been held with MetService and Airways on the introduction of graphical SIGMET (the conventional alpha- numeric SIGMET will continue to be provided). A number of allied production issues remain to be solved before the planned implementation. Work is continuing on these matters within all three organisations.
ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - July 2014. The papers from New Zealand have now been translated by the ICAO secretariat. Numerous papers have been submitted by the European Union which seek to direct future development of MET. A good paper has been supplied by the European Cockpit Association through IFALPA – a Pilots View on Weather (and MET development). See ICAO Meteorology (MET) Divisional Meeting 2014.
16 May 2014
- The Living with Volcanic Ash Episodes in Civil Aviation document has been revised to incorportate new volcanic ash alert levels. No changes have been made to procedures.
07 May 2014
- Graphical SIGMET – The production of a graphical version of notices of significant meteorological conditions (SIGMET) by MetService will commence in late July 2014. Access to this graphical information is expected to remove most of the current concerns in GA over the utility of the international specified alpha-numeric version. The graphical product will be available through MetService aviation on-line products. Pilots using tablet and I-pad devices in flight will also have access. Discussions with Airways continue on access and use by ATS Officers for passing information from the graphical product by radio to requesting aircraft.
- Aerodrome Pressure Information - a small number of aerodromes were advised on 5 May 2014 that their advertised supply of QNH data (aerodrome level pressure reduced to mean sea level in accordance with the international standard atmosphere) in their aerodrome weather information broadcasts (AWIB), without certification, contravened Rule Part 174. The aerodrome operators were advised however that the Rule Part does allow the provision of Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSL pressure). The work-out is simply to rename the data as Mean Sea Level (MSL) Pressure. See Advisory Circular AC174.
- NZ Volcanic Ash Advisory System - work with Geological and Nuclear Sciences and others has resulted in the simplification of the official GNS Volcanic Alert Level system. This will shortly be summarised in updates to the CAA’s on-line document, Living with Volcanic Ash Episodes in Civil Aviation These VAL changes do not materially affect the design of the existing triggering and hazard area notification system for aviation. See Volcanic Ash Advisory System.
- Aerodrome Charts - the inclusion of automatic weather station (AWS) location on aerodrome charts in the AIP NZ is to be considered by the AIP NZ Working Group shortly.
- DeepWave NZ Experiment – The CAA continues to provide support to the US (National Centre for Atmospheric Research – NCAR) and German (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt - DLR) organisers. See the AIP New Zealand web site - supplement effective 01 Jun 2014.
- ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting - July 2014. Two papers from New Zealand have now been accepted by the ICAO secretariat and are currently being translated:
- Streamlining Aeronautical Meteorological Information Provision and Related Global Systems Management - the need for the streamlining of meteorological production and the management and oversight of that production to better meet changing user safety and efficiency needs within the context of advancing technological capabilities in meteorological and related communities.
- Governance and Oversight of ICAO and WMO Working Arrangement - the need for better collaborative governance of global aviation meteorological system management, development and oversight within the context of the review of WMO and ICAO working arrangements. See ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting 2014.
31 March 2014
Notes from the recent ICAO Regional (Asia- Pacific) OPMET exchange (ROBEX) and Meteorological Hazards Task Force (METH TF) meetings held mid-March 2014:
- The Darwin/Wellington volcanic advisory centres (VAACs) back-up test scheduled for October. The test will also involve the Darwin/Tokyo procedures.
- Of all the States in the APAC Region, only Australia appears to be experiencing problems with the implementation of latitude and longitude in all SIGMETs.
- The revision of the Regional SIGMET Guide is to be speeded up by special working group comprising Australia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
- The Nov 2013 SIGMET communications tests were disappointing with limited improvement overall in the Region. The New Zealand component was completed to standard.
- Australia advised that the Cairns Meteorological Watch office (MWO) has been disestablished.
- Continuing need expressed for more guidance on the issue of radioactive material SIGMET.
- SIGMET posters being revised by a group comprising Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
- January tests showed OPMET database availability (ie receipt) of 90% and 92.4% respectively for METAR and TAF in the region for AOP aerodromes. Non receipt of some NZ METAR was noted - the problem probably lying with the Brisbane RODB – issue being investigated.
- Singapore has successfully implemented digital exchange of OPMET using XML/GML – mainly with UK. The lack of AMHS implementation in the region (and globally) is holding back further progress.
- A proposal to restructure of the ROBEX scheme will be further investigated and reported together with recommendations at the next meeting.
26 March 2014
- WAFS information. The well advised termination of the WAFS upper air forecasts in GRIB1 format ceased in November 2013 in accordance with decisions taken at the World Area Forecast Operations management group. The sole endorsed code form for WAFS upper air forecasts is now the GRIB2 code form. An extra flight level has been added to the specifications for the World Area Forecast System (WAFS) upper air forecasts in November last year. Both the London and Washington World Area Forecast Centers (WAFCs) now provide FL410 (175hPa) data in their routine production.
- The regular ICAO World Area Forecast Operations management group (WAFSOPSG/8) meeting was held in September 2013. Outcomes of interest were:
- Agreement to include three more levels (FL080, FL210, FL480) in the WAFS upper air forecasts. The data will include wind, temperature and geopotential altitude. These additions will become effective in November 2016.
- Removal of the two-hour delay when undertaking scheduled significant weather (SIGWX) back-up tests.
- Agreement to develop enhanced gridded global forecasts
- Agreement to develop, increase and enhance the verification of global gridded forecasts for cumulonimbus cloud, icing and turbulence.
See the ICAO World Area Forecast Operations management group (WAFSOPSG/8) web site.
14 March 2014
- The CAA notes a suggestion that the position of automatic weather stations on aerodromes be shown on aerodrome charts in the AIP. It is suggested that this would assist in the interpretation of METAR AUTO.
- The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be holding the Meteorology Divisional Meeting in Montréal, July 2014, conjointly with the Fifteenth Session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM-XV). The meeting will address strategic issues vital to the current and future provision of aeronautical meteorological services. CAA and MetService people will participate for New Zealand. See ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting.
- The regular ICAO International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group (IAVWOPSG) management meeting was held mid February 2014. Outcomes of interest were:
- Volcanic Ash Advisory to be extended experimentally to 24 hours.
- New Smithsonian volcano database mandated.
- IAVW strategic plan mandated.
- Space Weather Concept of Operation accepted.
- Radioactive Material Release Concept of Operations delayed.
- VAAC London and Toulouse areas of responsibility expanded.
- Various guidance materials further developed.
See the IAVWOPSG meetings web page.
- An MoU has been signed between the Darwin and Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) that provides for respective back-up of the Darwin or Wellington VAAC should either one be unable to operate for any reason.
- A graphical version of SIGMET for the NZZC (NZ - Domestic) FIR will be made available by MetService mid-2014. The graphical SIGMET for the NZZO (Auckland Oceanic) FIR will likely follow in 2015. Both developments will be made possible through the establishment of new IT systems at MetService. Although the format for the NZZC graphical SIGMET will differ, an interesting off-shore third party supplier of graphical SIGMET can be seen at SkyVector Aeronautical Charts.
- Engagement with the aviation sector on SMS implementation in the Civil Aviation Rules, including Part 174 Aviation Meteorological Service Organisations - Certification, is expected to start later in 2014. See Safety Management Systems (SMS).
- The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) competency requirements for meteorological forecasters and observers in Part 174 organisations are now in place. See Advisory Circulars.