Title page for ETD etd-02082010-193833

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author De Villiers, Michael Pierre
URN etd-02082010-193833
Document Title Predicting the development of weather phenomena that influence aviation at Abu Dhabi International Airport
Degree PhD
Department Geography, Geo-Informatics and Meteorology
Advisor Name Title
Prof J van Heerden Committee Chair
  • thunderstorm
  • fog
  • land and sea breezes.
  • tropical depression
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Shamal
  • sand storm
  • rain trough
  • dust storm
  • Nashi
  • United Arab Emirates
Date 2010-04-16
Availability unrestricted
The United Arab Emirates is a new country that has had little time to accumulate a scientific heritage. Meteorologically researched and documented weather material for forecasters is virtually non-existent and that available is fragmented and anecdotal.

The thesis tackles this problem by identifying weather phenomena significant to aviation in the Emirates and particularly at Abu Dhabi International Airport (ADIA). Mechanisms responsible for their development are described and applicable forecasting rules and principles are derived. Surface and upper air observation data at ADIA from 1983 to 2002 were analysed to identify the weather phenomena, their associated weather systems and for statistical analyses. When relevant, observation data at Al Ain was also used. Post-processed numerical weather prediction Global Forecast Service Eta model data are used and when and where possible radar and satellite imagery. A secondary aim is to provide information of the general seasonal climate. This was achieved by means of a literature study of the dominating weather systems and the presentation of surface and upper air mean circulation charts.

Fog is the most important weather phenomenon and serious disrupter of aviation at ADIA throughout the year. It does not occur during Shamal conditions, but fog can form well inland on the edge of the Empty Quarter at the Liwa Oasis when the Shamal wind becomes light. Contrary to local belief, fog is unlikely to occur on two, or more, consecutive nights. The Shamal can last for several days and disrupt helicopter flights to the oil rigs, while anabatic and katabatic effects often make it gustier and stronger inland at Al Ain than ADIA. While dust storms occur in strong southerly winds off the desert, the Shamal can bring dust from further afield from the north as can the previously unreported Nashi wind. The sea breeze can extend about 150 km inland to Al Ain and the Liwa Oasis. Thunderstorms associated with winter upper air troughs from the west, are the main producers of rain, while occasional thunderstorms off the Hajar Mountains in the east bring some rain in summer. Tropical depressions are a rare event.

2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

De Villiers, MP 2010, Predicting the development of weather phenomena that influence aviation at Abu Dhabi International Airport, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02082010-193833/ >


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