WMO’s Global Data Centre for Aircraft Based Observations will become a function of MADIS

Image of airplane wing flying over land and water

July 19, 2017

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has selected the NOAA National Weather Service’s (NWS) Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) as the WMO Global Data Centre for Aircraft-Based Observations (GDC-ABO). ESRL Global Systems Division (GSD) developed the MADIS global weather database and delivery system, and continues to work with the WMO on further requirements and improvements to add new datasets and increase functionality.

It is expected the GDC-ABO will become operational as a function of MADIS in late 2017 to provide WMO members and data users with access to both real-time and historical quality-controlled global aircraft-based observations from a single access point through a convenient user interface. This coordinated operational global program will benefit WMO and aviation end-users by standardizing access to ABO, displays, quality control, and metadata, which is especially helpful for poorer nations lacking the funds to build this infrastructure on their own.

Image of map of North America with data points

MADIS Aircraft Observation Display

The WMO has created standards for the Aircraft Meteorological DAta Relay (AMDAR) automated reports used by commercial aircraft worldwide. The onboard component of the AMDAR system is an avionics software application that utilizes existing sensors, navigation, communications, and computer systems to automatically collect and compile meteorological data. The aircraft transmit the data to the MADIS system on the ground in real-time where the data is decoded and quality controlled.

There are more than 4,000 AMDAR-equipped aircraft from 42 airlines and 12 national and regional programs. They produce more than 300,000 high-quality air temperature and wind speed and direction observations per day, together with the required positional and temporal information. There are also an increasing number of humidity and turbulence measurements being made.

This work further establishes aircraft-based observations as a source of high quality upper-air data for meteorological, climate and other research applications.

MADIS was completely implemented at NWS/NCEP on January 21, 2015 and includes data from more than 68,000 observation points including surface mesonet stations from local, state, and federal agencies; private observation networks such as railroads; upper-air data sets, including multiagency wind profilers, and ground-based radiometer observations; and many more.  

For more information, see the WMO Aircraft-Based Observations Website: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/GOS/ABO/index_en.html and also the News and Events site: https://sites.google.com/a/wmo.int/amdar-news-and-events/