Nowcast’s high-precision lightning data used at Croatia Control Ltd. since 2009

Croatia Control Ltd. is the ATC-Agency in Croatia. Their mission is ensuring air traffic safety to the highest standards and to provide air navigation services to keep the air traffic above Croatia and Europe safe and efficient.

Since 2009 nowcast has been winning the contracts for providing the lightning data and has regularly been the only tenderer able to meet our requirements. Stjepko Jančijev

Today we have the pleasure to conduct an interview with Stjepko Jančijev, Specialist in weather forecasting technology at Croatia Control Ltd. (CCL), Croatia.

Dear Mr. Jančijev, at CCL, the Air Navigation Service Provider for Croatia, you work at the Aeronautical Meteorology Service (MET). Can you briefly explain your role and responsibility?

As a MET Operations Support Specialist, my main role is to provide expert, regulatory and technical support to operational forecasters. My responsibilities include project management, improving the forecasting system, configuring Visual Weather (forecaster workstations), overviewing the data flow, developing and maintaining the public web page, as well as handling several contracts with our data suppliers, including nowcast GmbH.

CCL has been using the high-precision lightning data and nowcast’s LINET view application since 2009.
Can you explain how you use the data within your control software and in what cases you use the LINET view application?

CCL uses the data provided by Nowcast in several ways. Forecasters access the lightning data both via our Visual Weather system and the LINET view application and use it to produce warnings, as well as for the control of regular forecasts. Meteorological observers mostly use the LINET view application which helps them to make correct thunderstorm observations. We also plan on ingesting the lightning data into our Automatic Weather Observation Stations (AWOS). Every minute, our system also generates the “MET Sandwich”, an image with the overlapping layers of satellite and lightning data, and transmits it to the air traffic control database. Our air traffic controllers find this product very informative and intuitive for a quick meteorological assessment.

Can you tell us why CCL opted for nowcast data?

I would say that the main reason is that Nowcast has proved to be capable of providing us with reliable and timely data, as well as the user-friendly web page for displaying it.
Our cooperation had started before I took this position, so I only know it second hand. Since 2009 Nowcast has been winning the contracts for providing the lightning data and has regularly been the only tenderer able to meet our requirements. So for us, the decision was always easy.
Since Nowcast provides high-quality data at the best price, we have renewed the contract every year ever since.

Nowcast is the only provider of large-area lightning data able to deliver the emission height of IC-strokes over the complete covered area. How can this IC-height-information help you at CCL or ATCs in general?

Although the information about the height of IC-strokes and their distribution can be very useful in nowcasting, CCL does not use this data yet. We are primarily oriented to aviation, and airplanes tend to avoid the cumulonimbus clouds altogether. Our plan to obtain a nowcasting system and to ingest all the available data in it, including the vertical distribution of IC-strokes, was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to resume it when the situation goes back to normal.

How does CCL use the LINET lightning data and/or LINET view to dispatch timely warnings and who do you dispatch warnings to?

CCL dispatches timely warnings and forecasts to various aviation users (the Area Control Center, aerodrome operators, general aviation users, the Croatian Army, the Police, etc.), as well as the aviation community in general. Of course, to generate accurate warnings and forecasts, we need accurate and timely data, and Nowcast provides us with such lightning data. Our users have their own specific interests which do not always overlap. For example, at our Area Control Center, we use Nowcast data to track big convection systems which may enter Zagreb FIR (Croatian airspace) and for the detection of convection initialization inside the FIR. For aerodromes, we track the movement of cells around airports and issue warnings to aerodromes if needed. Low-flying aircraft are very vulnerable to hazardous weather, and thunderstorms are particularly dangerous because they cause various dangerous phenomena. Therefore we use the Nowcast lightning data to closely monitor the meteorological situation in Zagreb FIR and its surroundings.

Dear Mr. Jančijev, thank you very much for this interview. We wish you all the best and look forward to our further relation!

You are welcome, it has been my pleasure. I am looking forward to our future cooperation.