The Canadian Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Program

The Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) Program has been developed to support the Environment Canada's weather warning and forecasting programs and to provide better information to the aviation industry in their operations. It will provide critical upper air data including atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind speed, and direction.

The AMDAR Program uses the data collected from the meteorological sensors and the navigational, processing and communications systems found on board 21 Air Canada Jazz Dash-8 aircraft. This data is then reported on a near real-time basis to Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), which integrates it into its numerical weather prediction models used by weather forecasters.

The AMDAR Program is the result of a strong partnership between Environment Canada and Air Canada Jazz. It is the culmination of two years of efforts to develop this system, which is the most cost-effective in the world. Organizations that contributed to this success are Air Canada Jazz, Universal Avionics Systems Corporation, Sabre Inc., Field Aviation Company Inc., the Meteorological Service of Canada, NAV Canada, Sypher Mueller International Inc., CGP Associates Limited, the World Meteorological Organization's AMDAR Panel, The Network of European Meteorological Services EUMETNET-AMDAR Program, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Forecast Systems Laboratory and the Australia/New Zealand AMDAR Program. This partnership makes Air Canada Jazz the first airline in Canada to provide this new source of essential data.

The MSC's network of 31 upper air stations has traditionally provided this type of data. Air Canada Jazz's aircraft will transmit data from more locations and on a more frequent basis thus improving the accuracy of the weather forecasts. This will benefit Canadians and the airline industry's flight planning through better wind and temperature observations and forecasts. These forecast improvements also contribute to reducing costs by avoiding events such as diversions to other airports and unscheduled fuel stops, avoiding unfavorable jet streams, taking advantage of favorable ones and reducing fuel consumption. Better planning of flight connections will also reduce delays and improve lead time for preparation.

Canada's AMDAR data will be distributed around the world to other meteorological services via the Global Telecommunication System as part of an international commitment. Currently, there are 140,000 to 160,000 observations being reported on a daily basis around the world by a few major airlines. American, European, Australian and New Zealander carriers make the majority of these observations.

This partnership with Air Canada Jazz has created great synergy and it is expected that the program will be expanded to all 63 Air Canada Jazz Dash-8 aircraft within the next two years. The program is also expected to expand to other Canadian air carriers as resources become available.