Aviation safety has improved dramatically since RAL’s discovery of low-level wind shear, once responsible for hundreds of airplane fatalities. Our research engineered ways to detect and convey this hazardous phenomenon, as well as develop training materials instructing pilots when to steer clear. But our aviation safety work wasn’t finished. Further research found ways to discern and address other hazards that threaten aviation safety. Diagnosing and predicting turbulence, icing, visibility, and thunderstorms give air traffic controllers and airlines valuable planning windows, as well as the decision-making tools to avoid these hazards.

Focus Areas of Research

Business Jet departing a snowy airfield

Weather Expertise

Applying scientific rigor to understand and predict atmospheric processes that generate weather hazards to aviation.

  • Summer & Winter Storms
  • Wind & Wind Shear
  • Turbulence
  • Icing
  • Ceiling & Visibility
  • Volcanic Ash & Space Weather
  • Climate Change
Winter morning at airport. Deicing of airplane before flight.

Operational Weather Sensitivities

Assessing weather sensitivities of flight operations through stakeholder engagement to collaboratively determine needs and requirements for enhanced weather guidance.

  • Commercial, Business, & General Aviation
  • Uncrewed Aerial Systems & Urban Air Mobility
  • Space Launch & Travel
Cockpit radar showing thunderstorms up ahead

Actionable Weather Guidance

Developing weather and associated impact guidance to support operational decisions under uncertainty.

  • Airports, Heliports & Vertiports, etc.
  • En Route – Troposphere
  • Low Altitude – Atmospheric Boundary Layer
  • High Altitude – Stratosphere
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Benefits Assessment

Science Serving Society requires in-depth evaluation of the weather impact guidance accuracy as well as the actions undertaken based on utilizing that guidance.

  • Weather Prediction Accuracy
  • Impact Prediction Accuracy
  • Decision Making Effectiveness
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Foundational Capabilities

Our broad scientific and technical expertise builds on many enabling capabilities.

  • Data Services
  • Visualization
  • Numerical Weather Prediction
  • Algorithms
  • Turnkey Systems
  • Consulting, Training & Outreach