Southwest Airlines Unveils New Weather Detection System

By Jesse Sokolow on 13 December 2013
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A Southwest aircraft landing in Los Angeles

A Southwest aircraft landing in Los Angeles

Southwest Airlines announced on Thursday that it is introducing a new weather detection system that could potentially improve weather forecasting.

The airline finished installing Water Vapor Sensing Systems (WVSS-II) on 87 of its Boeing 737s, which will by provide real-time humidity data for planes in flight and during takeoff and landing.

The WVSS-II works by measuring water vapor in the atmosphere hundreds of times throughout a flight and transmitting the data to the U.S. National Weather Service. Using the data, forecasters can create computer-generated scenarios to detect severe weather conditions.

The data can also be used to determine the location and timing of fog, cloud formation, and dissipation, as well as altitudes of cloud ceilings. Knowing all of these factors plays a key role in determining safe flying conditions.

The WVSS-II is the product of a partnership between Aeronautical Radio Incorporated (ARINC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and SpectraSensors.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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