Study underway to predict fog at KIA, 6 hrs in advance

Study underway to predict fog at KIA, 6 hrs in advance

Can fog be predicted five to six hours in advance to help airlines and passengers plan their schedules better? Making this a clear possibility in the future, the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) here has launched a 40-month fog study. 

After enduring over 600 fog-linked flight disruptions at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) here this season, the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) on Monday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with JNCASR to activate the collaborative study. 

The study will track the atmospheric conditions in the vicinity of the airport. A Numerical Simulation Tool capable of predicting onset, intensity and dissipation of fog will be developed, according to Prof Sreenivas, leading a JNCASR Team.

Over the next 40 months, the Team will conduct extensive research on the microphysics of radiation fog. The night time temperature variation and how it affects aerosols, wind and humidity will be studied. This is expected to vastly improve weather forecasting at the airport. 

During the next three fog seasons and the preceding months, these factors influencing the weather condition will be monitored: Atmospheric variability, ground temperature, atmospheric aerosol loading, radiative fluxes, water vapour and energy transport in the surface layer. 

Predicting fog at KIA much in advance will help airlines delay boarding from the origin airports. In the absence of this information, flights are now either diverted or go around till the fog clears. 

“If the data is available at 10 pm or 11 pm the previous night for an early morning flight reaching here, airlines could communicate with their passengers in advance,” said a top BIAL official.

To ensure study accuracy, a Wind Cube, Humidity Temperature Profiler, Net Radiation Meters, Total Sky Scanner, Data Acquisition Switches and Velocity and Temperature Probes will be set up near the existing runway.

Second runway and fog 

Once the second runway is opened in October this year, fog disruptions could reduce. This runway will be equipped with CAT III B-compliant Instrument Landing System (ILS), enabling aircraft to land and take off even in heavy fog. 

But fog can still affect operations significantly, said BIAL Chief Executive Officer, Hari Marar. “Hence, prediction of fog is very important to adequately support enabled aircraft to operate under low visibility conditions.” 

CAT III-B will allow aircraft to land even if the Runway Visual Range (RVR) is only 50 metres. But it also depends on the aircraft's capability, crew training and the airport infrastructure.