EMS Technology Achievement Award 2024 for EMADDC

The EMS Technology Achievement Award for significant technology achievements and innovations in the field of meteorology and earth observation –

The European Meteorological Society has selected the European Meteorological Aircraft Derived Data Centre (EMADDC) as the recipient of the EMS Technology Achievement Award 2024.

The EMADDC team has demonstrated that an opportunistic use of aircraft data can be turned into a well calibrated, rich source of upper air observations, and that, through international collaboration by EUMETNET, these can be provided as a valuable service to the aeronautical and meteorological communities.

The Award will be presented to all the partners* of EMADDC at the Awards Session during the EMS Annual Meeting 2024 in Barcelona.

EMADDC is a EUMETNET programme, led by KNMI, that aims to be the operational centre for the collection, processing and dissemination of quality controlled meteorological upper air observations, based on aircraft data. Observations derived from sensors onboard aircraft are more or less instantaneously collected by Mode-S Enhanced Surveillance radars of Air Traffic Control Centres and by local ADS-B Mode-S receivers. By agreement, EMADDC receives these observations from Air Navigation Suppliers and local ADS-B Mode-S operators, such as UK Met Office, directly. Developments are under way to integrate the reception and subsequent distribution of processed observations through the new pan-European network service (NewPENS) of EUROCONTROL.

The EMADDC has been established at KNMI. The EMADDC is a small team included in large ones: it is part of KNMI and is embedded in the vast EUMETNET community. Furthermore, EMADDC is a true partnership program linked also to the aeronautical domain and supported by several commercial and non-commercial organisations.  EMADDC is co-funded by the European Union via the Connecting Europe Facility (SESAR Deployment).

A major amount of work has been carried out by the project team in a relatively short time period to receive, quality control and bias correct Aircraft-based weather observation data on behalf of the 31 members of  EUMETNET. This involved not only a scientific effort, but also a great deal of Technology which was needed to process the data and make the data available in near real time.

A big result was achieved during the COVID-19 period. The EMADDC team and ECMWF signed a memorandum of understanding, in April 2020, about accelerating the provision and use of the pan-European Mode-S data soon after the impacts of the loss of E-AMDAR data had affected the accuracy of the NWP products during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. A test at ECMWF using 2 months of Mode-S data gave a significant improvement in the short-range forecasts. Thus, in August 2020 ECMWF started using the EMADDC Mode-S winds operationally. The EMADDC system can utilize almost all flights and not just the previous subset that were fitted with AMDAR sensors.

Daily statistics of the operational performance of the data collection and quality control can be found on the EMADDC.com website: https://emaddc.com/data/quality+monitoring/default.aspx

The EMADDC 2.2 latest Public Reports provide comprehensive statistics of hourly data for different flight levels, wind speed, wind direction and temperature. Each day approximately 25 million temperature and 35 million wind observations, quality controlled, are being made available to stakeholders. Clearly, the EMADCC has established a reliable data collection and quality control system for these critically important observation data so that the data are stored and made ready for operational dissemination to receiving NWP Centres, such as ECMWF, or to be used operationally in meteorological forecasting offices.

Access to the data is provided only to those EUMETNET Members which have signed a non-disclosure agreement. This was (and still is) seen as a disadvantage by the committee.  It would be nice if the EMADDC data could become an open access High Value Dataset (HVD), but this is probably difficult to achieve as the data emanate from airlines. As the committee has seen the great benefit of the data for models and has seen that more countries (National Weather Services and Air Traffic Control Centres) have joined,  this disadvantage was considered to have decreased.

*EMADDC partners – The team behind the EMADDC are:


  • Dr. Siebren de Haan, observation scientist: original developer of calibration algorithms, NWP assimilation studies
  • Jan Sondij, MBA, senior advisor aviation meteorology: EMADDC program manager, national and international stakeholder relations, national and EU funding
  • Dr. Paul de Jong, programmer and observation scientist: development and maintenance of the EMADDC processing system
  • Dr. Michal Koutek, programmer: development and maintenance of the EMADDC processing system

at the UK Met Office:

  • Dr. Edmund Stone, observations scientist: developer of alternative calibration and processing algorithms, quality and comparison studies, developer of Operational data collection methods
  • Dr. Andrew Mirza, PhD student: quality and comparison studies and data assimilation trials
  • Gary Pearce, Field Service Engineer: original installation of UK Mode-S/ADS-B receivers at Met Office operational sites.


  • Steve Stringer, Aircraft Based Observation Program Manager: integration of EMADDC in the E-ABO program

at ARSO Slovenia:

  • Doc. Dr. Benedikt Strajnar, scientist: initial research on quality of Mode-S MRAR, NWP assimilation studies


  • Torsten Dörnbach, Team Leader Surveillance Data Processing ATM / TS / SDP: continuous provision of Mode-S EHS data since the start of the program, technical advice and support



EMS Technology Achievement Award. The European Meteorological Society (EMS) seeks to recognize achievements that are influential on developments of technologies and technical solutions in meteorology and related areas (e.g. oceanography, atmospheric chemistry and hydrology). The EMS Technology Achievement Award is granted to individuals or corporations in recognition of technological contributions associated with instrumentation and methodologies used in these areas, have advanced the methods and technologies of environmental observing and forecasting systems and demonstrated the potential to impact on the field at the European scale.


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