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Meteorology, Environment and Aviation

"Since the advent of commercial aviation, hardly any other industry has experienced such rapid technical progress. Nonetheless, even today, air transport is still susceptible to changing weather conditions. By the same token, it is safe to say that the dramatic increase in air traffic significantly impacts the environment – be it in terms of emissions, air quality in proximity of aerodromes or cabin hygiene. The research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation addresses all these topics – and many more. The latest developments and achievements in research and development are integrated into the curriculum of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Aviation and in a number of advanced teaching and training programmes."

Dr. Julien Anet, head of the research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation

The research unit

The research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation researches the effects of weather phenomena on air transportation as well as the environmental impact from and on the aviation industry as a whole.

Over the last 30 years, innovation in aeronautical weather products has been modest, even though science has made major improvements in aeronautical weather forecasting in recent years, which can now be depicted in far better detail than ever before. This stagnation can be overcome regionally by providing further training to flight personnel (e.g. at airlines, airport operators, and also weather forecasting personnel). Meanwhile, the aviation industry's environmental awareness has increased slowly but steadily in recent years. New engine emission standards are being implemented (e.g. SAE E31). Furthermore, the CORSIA programme marks the dawn of an exciting new era of CO2-neutral growth for the aviation industry. 72 member states have already committed to the implementation of the CORSIA programme. And finally, more recently public awareness for aviation-related air pollutant emissions in the vicinity of airports and in the aircraft cabin (so-called aerotoxic syndrome) has increased significantly.

Our graduates and customers should be able to navigate their way around this dynamic environment. With our extensive network we can furnish the industry with the latest developments and the necessary knowledge.

Services

The research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation is able to offer the following services:

  • Measurement, analysis and validation of small and large engine emissions (piston and turbine technology) according to SAE E31 with our SMARTEMIS infrastructure.
  • Measurements of bleed air in cooperation with Empa.
  • Wind profile measurements with a LIDAR, both for applications in aviation and for finding locations for the use of wind energy. Usually in combination with or giving due consideration to other measurements and weather models.
  • Advanced training and education for pilots and dispatch personnel.

 

Laboratory facilities

The following laboratory facilities are available for consulting work, research & development and teaching:

  • SMARTEMIS infrastructure for the measurement of particulate matter and gas phase emissions from engines on test benches or directly from an aircraft.
  • Warp node (100+ CPU cores) for weather or large eddy scale modelling.
  • Stationary wind LIDAR for the measurement of wind profiles over one location.
  • Mobile wind LIDAR for airborne applications and test drives, e.g. in urban areas (flow around buildings, flow in street canyons).

 

Project examples

The following types of projects are carried out in the research unit Meteorology, Environment and Aviation:

  • AGEAIR: Monitoring change over time of the characteristics of pollutants of aging large aircraft engines (research & development).
  • Evaluation of the measurement quality of novel, compact carbon monoxide sensors as the topic of a Bachelor thesis.
  • Estimation of the economic damage sustained by the aviation industry as the result of climate change (also as the topic of a number of Bachelor theses).