A Novel Camera-Based Approach to Increase the Quality, Objectivity and Efficiency of Aeronautical Meteorological Observations
Despite the general efforts of meteorological services to provide aeronautical observations at all ranges of airports automatically, for some meteorological variables, especially for the ones that highly rely on complex human perception (e.g., prevailing visibility and cloud coverage), reliable, fully automated observations cannot be ensured. This paper introduces novel possibilities to observe prevailing visibility and cloud coverage/height by means of a camera-based observation system that
... s not necessarily replace, but effectively and synergically amends the standard observations. We present human (and not automated) observations from a remote center that allows for an observer to report meteorological conditions remotely, only using images from cameras installed at the airport. The basic concept of the remote observer was developed within a previous SESAR project. The focus of our methods is set (1) on the quality of information with the occurrence of reduced visibility and enhanced cloud cover in inhomogeneous weather situations and (2) on a comparison of our approaches with those from local human observers. We conclude that for a correct estimation of the prevailing visibility, cloud coverage and cloud types, the automated sensors alone are inadequate; however, the camera-aided remote human approach to observations seems to be a promising supplement to eliminate the sensors' deficiencies, in terms of the quality (e.g., high quality camera records; no more point measurements), objectivity (e.g., database of archived weather situations) and efficiency (e.g., no need to have an observer physically present at the airport). The possibility to provide observations remotely seems to be advantageous in the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 era when the society must adapt to different levels of quarantine conditions, affecting and/or disabling standard work and travelling regimes.