The sky above Munich – Munich Airport relies on thunderstorm warning system from nowcast

Munich, February 2016 – Munich Airport is the most efficient two-runway airport in the world with 90 take-offs and landings per hour. However, it is not only the most efficient but also the safest airport in Germany with regard to thunderstorms. The airport gets its precise thunderstorm information directly from the leading experts in lightning detection. The system provides warnings one hour in advance and with a tolerance of three minutes. After an alert has been issued, safety measures are initiated immediately.

nowcast’s precise lightning detection system LINET detects every single lightning stroke using the closest of some 150 sensors in Europe. The resulting data is crucial for airports. Besides real-time lightning data the installation of field mills at the airport three years ago helped to improve warning time and reliability. These devices measure the electrostatic field between electrified clouds and ground. When the voltage increases markedly, a lightning stroke can occur. When the voltage decreases again to a low level (fair-weather field), operations at the airport can continue as usual. All collected information is displayed for the ground control staff in the web application LINET view that has been developed by nowcast.

“We’re constantly kept up-to-date about the thunderstorm and lightning risk. In case of urgent danger, we notify all our staff on apron by radio and order dispatching stops. The data from nowcast is very important for providing safety for all persons – airport staff and travelers”, says Jörg Simon, Head of Airport Operations Munich. The combination of both measuring methods – the lightning detection network LINET and the analysis of the field mills – recognizes and detects every thunderstorm movement and even those thunderstorms that evolve right above the airport.

nowcast is planning a lot of things this year. “We are pushing the development of our lightning detection system further so that we can tell at what time a thunderstorm will occur above the Munich Airport to an accuracy of one minute. And the advance warning time of one hour shall be doubled to two hours”, explains Daniel Betz, who is in charge of product development at nowcast.

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