The Met Office is hosting an international conference on aviation meteorology in Exeter this week: the 16th session of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology. The meeting will look at current and future challenges as well as optimising meteorological support for air transport and navigation. The aim is to ensure worldwide, reliable provision of high quality, timely and cost-effective meteorological forecast service for the aviation industry.

Vice President of the Commission and Head of Environmental Hazards at the Met Office, Ian Lisk said, “This is an exciting time for aviation meteorology.  Advancements in technology and the availability of data are helping to extend the frontiers of aviation forecasting. Working closely with WMO Members around the world and our colleagues in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the Commission will be looking at new ways to make the best of these advances  and share the results with the aviation industry.”

The Commission is the driving force behind the WMO Aeronautical Meteorology Programme, which only meets every four years.  The President of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology, C.M. Shun (Hong Kong Observatory) said: “Aviation is one of the most weather-sensitive of all economic sectors.  Science and technology are rapidly advancing, and so are user requirements.

“We need to ensure that in close collaboration with the user and research communities, the weather community will be able to further develop services that are fit-for-purpose and credible, both now and in the future."

The conference is being hosted by the Met Office at Exeter University. There will be around 150 delegates   from 70-80 countries, including delegates from the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, NATS and UK Government.

The Met Office is a key player in international aeronautical meteorology being one of only two World Area Forecast Centres, providing forecasts for long-haul flights, and one of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres, monitoring volcanic ash emissions. The Met Office works widely with civil and military aviation, airports and offshore industries, sharing expertise across the globe.

Ian Lisk added: “If you’re on a long-haul flight, there’s a 50 per cent chance that the Met Office will have been involved with the forecast.”