NASA Award for ESRL/GSD's Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) Team

October 14, 2005

At the recent NASA Aviation Weather Accident Prevention Project Review meeting in Virginia, William R. Moninger, lead scientist for ESRL/GSD's TAMDAR efforts, received an award and GSD team members received certificates for "outstanding contributions to aviation weather safety research and development."

The Global Systems Division (formerly Forecast Systems Laboratory), Forecast Research Branch, has been a central player in a NASA/FAA-sponsored program to evaluate a new meteorological sensor package designed to fill current data voids by being deployed on aircraft operated by regional airlines. The package, called TAMDAR (Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting), and developed by AirDat, LLC, under NASA sponsorship, measures winds and temperature aloft, humidity, icing, and turbulence. Since January 2005, it has been deployed on 63 turboprop aircraft operated by Mesaba airlines over the Great Lakes region, for a year-long evaluation.

GSD has performed several tasks to help evaluate the quality of this sensor suite and its impact on numerical weather prediction models.

  • The data have been made available through GSD's web aircraft display and through GSD's Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) program to NWS forecasters and university researchers.
  • GSD has implemented two otherwise identical real-time versions of the RUC model - one which ingests TAMDAR data and one which does not.
  • Forecasts from these two models have been evaluated both statistically and through many specific case studies.
  • Results of our studies have been shared with AirDat personnel and have helped them improve the performance of their sensors.