Air-Traffic Restrictions at the Madeira International Airport Due to Adverse Winds: Links to Synoptic-Scale Patterns and Orographic Effects

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The Madeira International Airport (MIA) lies on the island’s south-eastern coast and it is known to be exposed to wind hazards. A link between these adverse winds at MIA and the synoptic-scale circulation is established using a weather type (WT) classification. From April to September (summer period), five WTs prevail, cumulatively representing nearly 70% of days. These WTs reflect the presence of well-established Azores high, with some variations on location and strength. Although with a low frequency of occurrence (<5%), this anticyclone occasionally strengthens and extends towards Iberia, inducing anomalously strong NNE/NE up to 3–5 km over Madeira. The most severe and longer-lasting wind conditions at the MIA, with a higher frequency of gusts above 35 kt, are driven by this synoptic-scale pattern and are more common in summer. AnepisodeofadversewindsattheMIAisanalysed,illustratingtheoccurrenceofupstreamstagnation, flow splitting, and lee wake formation. The upstream conditions include a low-level inversion, strong NNE/NE winds near and above the inversion and a Froude number less than 1. The AROME (Application of Research to Operations at Mesoscale) model predicted the occurrence of downslope winds, in association with a large-amplitude mountain wave. At this time, the strongest wind gusts were registered and one aircraft executed a missed approach. The wind regime in different places of the island suggests that these conditions are relatively frequent, mostly in summer. Finally, objective verification of AROME wind forecast, for a three-year period and from June to August, is discussed.
aircraft operations restrictions , severe winds