Nasa is funding research to develop a prototype system to provide updates about severe storms and turbulence to aircraft flying across remote ocean regions.

The prototype combines satellite data and computer weather models with artificial intelligence techniques to detect and predict rapidly evolving storms and other potential turbulent regions.

The system will use key space-based indicators to guide aircraft away from intense weather.

It will also identify areas of turbulence in clear regions of the atmosphere and within storms.

Nasa will use a number of its spacecraft observations in the project including Terra, Aqua, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, CloudSat and CALIPSO satellites.

Once fully developed, the system will provide pilots and ground-based controllers with text-based maps and graphical displays showing regions of likely turbulence and storms.

The testing for the prototype is scheduled for 2010.

The research is being jointly conducted by National Center for Atmospheric Research and University of Wisconsin.

The project is funded by Nasa’s Applied Sciences Programme.