Terrain–Induced Wind Shear

Algorithms designed to alert pilots to turbulence

The Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is home to one of the world’s top applied turbulence research programs. Scientific research is focused on providing improved turbulence detection and forecasting products to the operational aviation and meteorological communities. The research includes ground-breaking efforts in terrain-induced turbulence, forecasting technologies, in-situ measurements from commercial aircraft, turbulence characterization, and remote sensing of turbulence.

Juneau Airport Wind System (JAWS) Display

At the Juneau and Hong Kong Airports, NCAR/RAL developed systems that successfully address the problem of terrain-induced turbulence and windshear for the aviation community. These aviation safety systems utilize data from several sources including anemometers near the runways and distributed around the airport region, Doppler radar, and weather prediction models. Windshear and turbulence alerts are provided to air traffic controllers, pilots, and airport meteorologists on both graphical and alphanumeric displays.

Over the years, RAL’s applied turbulence efforts have been supported by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Government of Hong Kong, the Government of Taiwan, the U.S. Navy, and various commercial entities.


Matthias Steiner

Director, Aviation Applications Program


Arnaud Dumont

Deputy Director Engineering, Aviation Applications Program