|23rd March 2021|
|Today is World Meteorological Day|
|Today is World Meteorological Day, another professional holiday for our enterprise, because en-route meteorological service is one of the components of air navigation service. This is very important for safety, since weather phenomena have a significant impact on take-offs and landings, at different altitudes on the route. The crew must be prepared for every weather condition - deteriorating visibility, low cloud cover, wind gusts, turbulence, thunderstorms, and icing.
UkSATSE is a certified provider of en-route meteorological services. A centralised meteorological support system for air navigation has been in operation at the enterprise since 2009. Our meteorologists work around the clock in the meteorological tracking bodies that operate in every air traffic control centre in Ukraine. And even in the period of the COVID-19 crisis they have no less work, because the accuracy and regularity of weather information must be the same whether for one flight or for hundreds of flights. Iryna Sadychko, a Senior Engineer of the Aeronautical Meteorological Support Unit with 37 years of professional experience, shared the peculiarities of this activity. Direct speech.
“I was very lucky to devote myself to my favourite profession as a meteorologist. I graduated from the Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University Department of Meteorology in 1983. This profession is so interesting! I first worked in the Ukrainian aviametcentre of Boryspil airport, from 2002 - in the Kyivcenteraero regional branch, and from 2008 - in the Meteorological Support Unit of Air Navigation Service.
We provide the core activity of our enterprise, in particular air navigation services. One of the types of air navigation services is the area of en-route meteorological services. This is stipulated in the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation - ICAO. An air traffic controller shall have all necessary meteorological information at his/her workplace so that at the right moment - but sometimes it is minutes or even seconds – he/she will be able to transmit it to the aircraft.
Our meteorologists create weather forecasts and prepare information on weather hazards for aviation - at low flight levels and at high altitudes, en-route. Air traffic controllers receive this information immediately at their workplaces and forward it to the crews.
Meteorological Watch Offices were established in June 2009. Since March 2003, UkSATSE - for the first time in Ukraine - has already had a SADIS system in operation. Initially it was a satellite-based system for distribution of necessary meteorological data for air navigation, and since July 2016 it is a SADIS-FTP service on the Internet - Secure Aviation Data Information Service. The first workstations have been installed at the Kyiv Area Control Centre. And a centre of the Centralised Air Navigation Meteorological Support System has been established at the Kyivcenteraero Regional Branch. From this unit, all necessary weather information is sent to the workplaces, websites of air traffic controllers and meteorologists of the air traffic control centres. Meteorologists of the meteorological watch offices work in all units, producing 24-hour forecasts for low flight levels (from the ground to an absolute altitude of 3050 metres) - this is regular information, and they also prepare warnings about dangerous phenomena on flight routes - these are urgent messages - irregular information.
Meteorological information integrates data on various weather elements: wind direction and speed at ground level and different altitudes, temperature at low levels and corresponding altitudes, in particular in the ground layer; on minimum QNH pressure for the flight information region, on the altitude of the lower edge or cloud layers, fog, precipitation and other phenomena that worsen visibility - especially important at lower levels for aircraft flight planning and execution; on particularly dangerous weather phenomena for aviation at low levels of flight. In winter, this is, for example, heavy icing in sub-cooled precipitation or in cloud cover, in transitional periods like now, snow squall with reduced visibility and low cloud cover and increased wind speeds in the surface layer. During the warm season it is thunderstorm activity. There is already a possibility of isolated thunderstorms over the sea and to the south across the Odesa flight information region. The development of thunderstorm activity from April to October poses a particular danger to aviation. Our meteorologists issue thunderstorm warnings.
Thanks to satellite information, it is possible to determine the upper limit of cumulonimbus cloud cover during thunderstorm formation.
UkSATSE installed four Doppler weather radars across Ukraine in 2012 - in Lviv, Kharkiv, Simferopol and Donetsk. We received meteorological information from these radars. But while the Simferopol radar, which remained in the temporarily occupied territory in Crimea, at least physically survived, the Donetsk radar was completely destroyed with the start of hostilities in Donbas ...
Since 2016, we have been receiving information from lightning direction finders, a network of which has been installed across the country by the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute together with an American company. There are relevant contracts in place.
Accuracy of forecasts and information produced by our meteorologists is very high, exceeding 90%. We clearly control and analyse these indicators, the information of the next forecaster is checked by the senior forecaster, and our unit provides its analysis and recommendations for improving the quality of meteorological products on a monthly basis.
In 2014, an external website of the Central Meteorological Air Navigation Service System (CMASS) was created, which is accessible to airlines and other users who have air navigation service contracts with UkSATSE - both Ukrainian and foreign. This is a very convenient way to get the necessary weather information remotely from anywhere at any time - both for Ukraine and for neighbouring European countries whose airspace borders on Ukraine. This is important for flight planning. The military and border guards also have access to our website. In addition, other users interested in weather information, related to aviation or other economic activities, can get paid access to the site. For example, the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Centre needs data from our Doppler weather radars in warm seasons. At the same time, UkSATSE has an agreement with the Institute of Water Resources of Poland on exchange of Doppler weather radar data. There are eight of them in Poland, and they partially cover the western part of the Lviv flight information region. Also an agreement has already been signed to coordinate between the Warsaw and Lviv meteorological surveillance authorities in releasing information on special weather phenomena along flight routes - already from 1 April 2021. This cooperation is implemented in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
Safety depends on the meteorologist’s performance. All our colleagues are clearly aware of their mission and responsibility. Ensuring high quality forecasts and their continuity is necessary for hundreds of aircraft in the air, and so is even for a single aircraft. That is, even during last year's passenger traffic lockdown. Throughout the period of the COVID-19 crisis, the work of our meteorologists has not diminished. They are so dedicated to their work that they check forecasts and information all the time, even on their days off, from home, thanks to access via an external website. And, for example, the senior meteorologists (who have a five-day work schedule) also go on shifts to relieve colleagues and ensure uninterrupted 24/7 work - both in downtime last year and now on a part-time basis.
I thank all my colleagues for their commitment and special dedication to their work!