• Skylab
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  • Turbulence recording on airliners and interpretation for improved forecasts

Turbulence recording on airliners and interpretation for improved forecasts

Project: Skylab, subsidized by FOCA, Art. 87b BV
Project budget: 230’000 CHF

This project aims at implementing automated methods on airliners to record turbulence data using Eddy Dissipation Rates (EDR). The recorded turbulence data shall be provided to several research organizations such as ETH Zurich, DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, ZHAW School of Engineering, and National Center of Atmospheric Research NCAR. Using EDR recordings from airlines assists in developing better models to predict risks of turbulence by mountain waves, e.g. using the COSMO-7 model (at 7 km mesh size) and the COSMO-1 (at 1 km mesh size). Furthermore, the data helps the basic understanding of Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) and the special aviation related needs of this understanding. The in situ observations allow a comparison between commercial aircraft measurements and research aircraft measurements (e.g. DLR Falcon), including the development of methods to translate the meteorological forecasts into aircraft impact. As a refinement, probabilistic and mesh-refined forecasts and an analysis of the Graphical Turbulence Guide (GTG) method (which parts of the GTG are important and why) crucially extend now-casting to Europe.


Figure Events of severe turbulence recorded on SWR and EDW aircrafts in 2011 from aircraft acceleration (source: ETH-IAC).

Project partners:

Airbus (F)
Swiss Airlines (CH)
Lufthansa (DE)
EasyJet (UK)
DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics (DE)
ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (CH)
Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (CH)
ZHAW School of Engineering (CH)
National Center of Atmoshperic Research (USA
International Airline Transport Association (CA)

Point of contact: Martin Gerber

(Featured image on top: Kelvin Helmholtz cirrus evoked by turbulences, source DLR)