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Outcomes of ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting

1 August 2014

The ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting (7 to 18 July 2014) concluded its deliberations on how the meteorological component of the Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) methodology can best support the “One Sky” concept as envisioned by the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). The integration of meteorological information and data exchange into the future system wide information management (SWIM) digital environment that will further enable operational decision-making by aviation users was key to the discussions. 

Several proposals on the enhancement of meteorological service provision were considered, including improvements in the detection and reporting of volcanic ash and radioactive material in the atmosphere, as well as the effects of space weather. CANSO had expressed its view that space weather information should be provided in a globally consistent format, through appropriate regionalised centres, similar to the organisational arrangement of the World Area Forecast Centres (WAFC) of which there are only two – the UK Met Office and Washington-based NOAA – with each providing a backup for the other. 

The meeting agreed that the transition to a more collaborative operating environment and increased automation would require changes to how aeronautical meteorological information was made available and used. It also agreed that human factors were central to the future development of aeronautical meteorological information services – a key point raised by CANSO in one of its five working papers to the Conference. 

Regarding the integration of meteorological information and transition to the future SWIM environment, it was clear that States are at different levels of implementation and that ANSPs and aeronautical meteorological service providers need to be actively engaged in the migration in order to facilitate a smooth transition. New ICAO provisions in support of the evolution of meteorological information exchange will be introduced as intermediate steps to the foreseen end-state by 2025. Considering the complexity and multidisciplinary aspects of the transition to SWIM, it was recommended that an expert group (likely the newly-established Information Management Panel – IMP) will work in close coordination with other ICAO technical groups involved in the development of SWIM and support the further development of provisions for aeronautical meteorological information exchange as an integral component of SWIM. CANSO will need to be involved in both these efforts – to support the implementation efforts for meteorological information exchange at the State level and in the further development of the net-centric SWIM concept by the IMP. 

During a review by the meeting of the working arrangements between ICAO and WMO in the field of aeronautical meteorology, CANSO argued that the digital paradigm shift in ATM will impose ever higher requirements for system-to-system interoperability. ICAO’s coordination with other standards-making organisations is therefore particularly important. 

Further, adherence by States to international standards will become increasingly relevant to the automation and the procurement of technical systems of the future global ATM system. States must ensure that technical regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to the efficiencies that need to be achieved in ATM. 

In this regard, CANSO called on ICAO and WMO to update their working arrangements to observe the principles contained in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of the WTO, including its Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Technical Regulations. In considering this proposal, the meeting noted the ongoing work to update the ICAO standardisation policies and arrangements with other international standards-making bodies, and recognised the importance of the participation of all relevant stakeholders in this process, but expressed concerns with giving a third party such a role in a bilateral agreement between ICAO and WMO. 

On the whole, the 2014 Meteorology Divisional Meeting will help further evolve the provision of meteorological service provision in support of the future global air navigation system. CANSO’s contribution was expertly supported by a number of Members, who also comprised part of their State delegations during the meeting. However, much work needs to be done and CANSO and its Members will need to evaluate how best to support the transition to the SWIM digital environment. The final report of the 2014 Meteorology Divisional Meeting can be obtained at




  • SWIM
  • ICAO
  • ASBUs

About the author

Eugene Hoeven

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