Meteorological data from regional commuter aircraft were utilized by meteorologists to make improved aviation forecasts during an experiment called the TAMDAR Great Lakes Fleet Experiment. TAMDAR (Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Report) is an instrument package and communications system designed by AirDat, LLC as part of NASA and FAA aviation safety initiatives. Real-time weather data were collected during ascent, descent and cruise altitude by an instrument with temperature, humidity, icing, and pressure sensors. Wind and turbulence data were derived. TAMDAR data were transmitted via satellite to an AirDat ground station, and then relayed to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory where they were made available to certain government, university, military and airline meteorologists via an interactive web page. Data were also made available to the public via an AirDat maintained internet site. Meteorologists at many National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Offices and Center Weather Service Units (CWSU) found TAMDAR to be valuable in forecasting ceilings, visibilities, thunderstorms and turbulence in Terminal Forecasts and Center Weather Advisories. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) meteorologists also found TAMDAR useful in forecasting icing. Several examples are presented to demonstrate how TAMDAR was valuable in forecasting different weather phenomena important to aviation.
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