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Improved forecasts with new aircraft observations


The skill of weather forecasts depends strongly on the amount and quality of observation data for wind, temperature and humidity. Currenty, only selected commercial airplanes are equipped with the AMDAR observation system ( Their observations are ingested into weather models in order to determine the current state of the atmosphere.

The new observation product Mode-S EHS ( uses air traffic control data to derive wind and temperature observation from all commercial airplanes over central Europe.
The resulting data density is ten times higher than for AMDAR.

Mode-S EHS data was assimilated in the experimental forecasting system COSMO-KENDA. This was done in the Hans-Ertel-Center for Data Assimilation, a cooperation of MIM and the German Weather Service (DWD). With the new data, upper air wind and temperature forecast errors could be reduced by up to 10% (Lange & Janjic 2015).