Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 199–206, 2013
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 199–206, 2013

Research article 01 Feb 2013

Research article | 01 Feb 2013

Quality assessment of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) wind and temperature observation from commercial aircraft

S. de Haan1, L. J. Bailey2, and J. E. Können3 S. de Haan et al.
  • 1Weather Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Postbus 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 2Advanced Air Traffic Management, The Boeing Co., P.O. Box 3707, Seattle, WA 98124, USA
  • 3Flight Operations, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, P.O. Box 7700, 1117 ZL Schiphol, The Netherlands

Abstract. Aircraft observations of wind and temperature are very important for upper air meteorology. In this article, the quality of the meteorological information of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) message is assessed. The ADS-C messages broadcast by the aircraft are received at air traffic control centres for surveillance and airline control centres for general aircraft and dispatch management. A comparison is performed against a global numerical prediction (NWP) model and wind and temperature observations derived from Enhanced Surveillance (EHS) air-traffic control radar which interrogates all aircraft in selective mode (Mode-S EHS). Almost 16 000 ADS-C reports with meteorological information were compiled from the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) database. The length of the data set is 76 consecutive days and started on 1 January 2011. The wind and temperature observations are of good quality when compared to the global NWP forecast fields from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Comparison of ADS-C wind and temperature observations against Mode-S EHS derived observations in the vicinity of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol shows that the wind observations are of similar quality and the temperature observations of ADS-C are of better quality than those from Mode-S EHS. However, the current ADS-C data set has a lower vertical resolution than Mode-S EHS. High vertical resolution can be achieved by requesting more ADS-C when aircraft are ascending or descending, but could result in increased data communication costs.