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  MADIS Aircraft Based Observation (ABO) Dataset

Aircraft Based Observation (ABO) Dataset



Many commercial aircraft operating in the world today are equipped with sensors that can provide real-time weather observations (primarily winds and temperatures) via radio downlinks.

The MADIS Aircraft Based Observation (ABO) dataset provides data obtained from airlines covering the globe, which includes:
  1. Many US airlines reporting through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), managed by Aeronautical Radio, Inc. (ARINC).
  2. Aircraft Meteorological Data Reporting (AMDAR) data from many European and Asian carriers.
  3. Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) sensor data being provided by Panasonic.
  4. Water Vapor Sensing System II (WVSS-II) data is being provided by South West Airlines (SWA) and United Parcel Service (UPS).
  5. South America data from LATAM Airlines coming soon.
Note: ACARS is a superset of the Meteorological Data Collection and Reporting System (MDCRS) data that's available via NOAAPORT.

The aircraft dataset is organized in two different ways: the "Aircraft Based Reports" files contain all of the data, while the "Profiles at Airports" files only have data taken from aircraft taking off and landing at airports, which are organized into profiles associated with the location of the airports. Note that all of the data in the profiles are also contained in the Aircraft Based Report files. Users whose applications do not need the data organized into profiles only need to receive the Aircraft Based Report files.

MADIS has been collecting Aircraft Based observations since July 1, 2001. EDDY Dissipation Rate (EDR) and Water Vapor Sensing System-II (WVSS-II) data are more recent additions to the ABO variable and QC pages.

EDR is an objective, aircraft-independent, universal measure of turbulence based on the rate at which energy dissipates in the atmosphere. In other words, it is a measure of the turbulent state of the atmosphere. The variables include the Median Eddy Dissipation Rate (MEDEDR) and Maximum Eddy Dissipation Rate (MAXEDR). WVSS-II is a second-generation water vapor sensing system. The sensor provides a direct measurement of the water vapor mixing ratio.

Geographic Coverage

Currently-participating U.S. airlines are: American, Delta, Federal Express, Northwest, United, United Parcel Service, South West Airlines, and Mesaba. In addition, the following airlines participate in the AMDAR program: BA, KLM, Air France, SAS, Lufthansa, Qantas, Air New Zealand, South African Air, Air Namibia, AeroMexico and LATAM Airlines.

More than 600,000 wind and temperature observations are available per day, 450,000 of which are over the continental United States. These data come from approximately 5,000 aircraft. There are more data during the daytime than at night, but thanks to participation by some parcel-carrying airlines, nighttime coverage is substantial.

Click here for a map showing the geographic coverage of the aircraft data over the 3-hour period 2000 - 2300 UTC on 20 October 2016.

Data Schedule

Data arrive more or less continuously (with more during the day, as stated above), and are processed every 10 minutes. The data are segmented into hourly files, with the file for hour HH containing data for HH00 through HH59. Some reports arrive late, so each hour's data is reprocessed a number of times. The most complete data for a given hour is available about 13 hours after the file time. Using hour 00 as the example, the file is processed and available at around 0023, 0033, 0043, 0053, 0103, 0113, 0123, 0138, 0223, 0323, 0933, 1333.


Typical daily volume for all MADIS datasets can be seen here.


Aircraft Based Observations (ABO) are either available to the public or restricted by the airlines. Please click here for more information on restrictions.

Variable Details

Aircraft Based Reports

Profiles at Airports

Related Links

Last updated 25 April 2017