Recommendation R20020181

Recommendation issued to: Bureau Of Meteorology

Recommendation details
Output No: R20020181
Date issued: 20 September 2002
Safety action status:
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Bureau of Meteorology expedite the development, testing, and installation of advanced weather radar systems to detect hazardous wind shears in high risk airport terminal areas.

Initial response
Date issued: 19 April 2004
Response from: Bureau Of Meteorology
Action status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

The following response dated 16 April 2004 was received from the Bureau of Meteorology:

The Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) Aviation Research and Development program includes a project on wind shifts and wind shear. The project objective is to improve the detection and forecasting of wind shifts and the detection of wind shear in the vicinity of airports. Activities under this project include maintaining knowledge and expertise of international R&D activities on wind shifts and wind shear, the development of an experimental Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS) and the development of Doppler radar based applications for detecting wind shifts and wind shear. With regard to radar systems specifically, experimental work is currently being undertaken in the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) to detect gust fronts, using an algorithm developed in the USA, the Machine Intelligent Gust Front Algorithm (MIGFA)

The Bureau currently has Doppler radars at Sydney (Kurnell) and Darwin and an experimental unit is about to be installed at Brisbane (the NCAR CP2). Under a Government-funded initiative the Bureau, over the course of the next five years, will be installing Doppler radars at Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Tamworth, Melbourne and Yarrawonga. These radars are designed for general surveillance and are useful for identifying the severe thunderstorms and giving forecasters confidence in their conceptual models of the way the atmosphere is behaving. However, they are not specifically set up to identify windshear operationally. To do this would require the development of sophisticated algorithms to further process the radar data. In addition, arrangements to provide the warnings to Air Traffic Control and pilots, including necessary processing and display equipment, the development of appropriate procedures and the provision of training also needs to be in place. The cost of these kind of specialised radar systems is high. For example, in the US the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) has been developed specifically identify wind shear at aerodromes, but the cost is in excess of A$20 million, and the radar are not so suitable for general weather work.

The Bureau will continue research to derive the maximum operational utility from existing and future Doppler radar systems, both for severe weather applications and for aviation. There is no doubt that Doppler systems will contribute significantly to aviation safety.

Last update 03 April 2012