Characteristics of fog in an aerodrome in a tropical lowland area in northwestern Amazonia

Álvaro Rafael Martínez Mancera, Astrid Baquero Bernal

Abstract

An analysis of meteorological terminal aviation routine weather reports (METAR) generated at the “Ernesto Esguerra Cubides” (EEC) aerodrome (Tres Esquinas Airbase) is shown. The aerodrome is located in the municipality of Solano in the Colombian Amazonia. Reports covering the period January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2012 helped to identify and analyze the characteristics of the occurrence of fog events at the EEC aerodrome. The results show that fog is a frequent meteorological phenomenon at the EEC aerodrome. On average, one in five days of the study period had at least one report of fog. At the EEC, fog is the meteorological phenomenon that causes the most weather-related aerodrome closures; it caused 45.26% of the closures of the EEC aerodrome. The high percentage of episodes of fog with calm wind (95%) and its high occurrence between 22:00 and 08:00 LT suggest that fog at the EEC aerodrome is basically radiative-type. Fog appears in every month of the year. In addition, three episodes of dense fog over the EEC aerodrome were analyzed from METAR and aviation special weather reports (SPECI), images from the GOES-13 satellite, NOAA surface analysis charts and radio soundings made at the EEC aerodrome. The analysis of these data allowed us to establish the weather conditions in which three fog events were presented. It was found that in times when the North Atlantic anticyclone is farthest from the Colombian territory and the Intertropical Convergence Zone is located north of the territory, subsidence is generated in the lower and middle levels by inhibiting convection over the northwestern part of the Colombian Amazonia and favoring the occurrence of fog or mist in the area. Subsidence over the area is also related to convective activity in the departments of Guainía, Vaupés and Guaviare. This, together with sky conditions with few clouds and calm winds favor radiative cooling, increasing the likelihood of fog and mist.

Keywords

Fog observations; lowland tropical cloud forest; Amazonia; METAR and SPECI reports; aerodrome closures; Colombia; South America

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