Data fusion enables better recognition of ceiling and visibility hazards in aviation

AMS Citation:
Herzegh, P. H., G. M. Wiener, R. E. Bateman, J. R. Cowie, and J. Black, 2015: Data fusion enables better recognition of ceiling and visibility hazards in aviation. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 96, 526-532, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00111.1.
Resource Type:article
Title:Data fusion enables better recognition of ceiling and visibility hazards in aviation
Abstract: Low cloud ceilings and poor visibility claim the lives of more general aviation (GA) pilots and passengers than any other cause of weather-related GA accidents. Experience shows that instrument-rated pilots as well as those rated only for visual flight are vulnerable to low ceiling and visibility (C&V), making total avoidance the most powerful strategy available to a GA pilot dealing with these hazards. The weather awareness needed for avoidance begins with the recognition of current conditions. This article outlines how fusion of surface, satellite, and terrain data yields a graphical analysis product that enables GA pilots, dispatchers, and weather briefers to better visualize the areal distribution of recent and current C&V conditions across the contiguous U.S. The product is available at and indicates ceilings less than 1,000 ft above ground level, visibilities less than 3 statute miles, and regions where terrain obscuration is possible. The product is also viewable in the context of interactive geographic information system data via the experimental Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Tool available at The authors summarize verification results and outline work toward a next-generation product that incorporates the use of model forecast data and weather camera imagery to improve information in data-sparse regions. This next-generation product is in development for initial use in Alaska.
Peer Review:Refereed
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OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7k64k75
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00111.1
  • Paul Herzegh - NCAR/UCAR
  • Gerry Wiener - NCAR/UCAR
  • Richard Bateman - NCAR/UCAR
  • James Cowie - NCAR/UCAR
  • Jennifer Black - NCAR/UCAR
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