August 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympics Project

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logoAt a time of the year when high temperatures and thunderstorms occur frequently, weather predictions and characterization of associated risk will be a significant factor for the success of the Olympic Games being held in China. For the third consecutive Games, WMO is coordinating efforts by the host country and other Members of the Organization to provide timely and accurate weather information.

According to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the Fengyun-3A satellite, which is the first of its new generation of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites (see feature article “China launches weather satellite”), is expected to be in operation during the Beijing Olympics.

During the Olympic Summer Games, the host nation and several WMO Members are utilizing these observations in a WMO-coordinated effort to deploy numerical forecast models specifically designed to improve prediction of high-impact weather in the vicinity of the Olympic venues on time-scales of minutes to days.

One aspect is a focus on characterizing the changing uncertainty in such forecasts, which varies with the changing atmospheric conditions. The forecast systems include those already used worldwide by WMO Members for operational prediction as well as state-of-the-art systems from the research community.

This coordinated forecast effort is a project under the WMO’s World Weather Research Programme called the Beijing 2008 Olympics Project. The project consists of two components: a Forecast Demonstration Project, dedicated to 0-6 hour “nowcasts” of convective storm tracks, precipitation and severe weather; and a Research and Development Project, focusing on 6-36 hour mesoscale ensemble predictions, which will provide forecasts of high-impact weather, as well as quantifying the day-to-day variations in uncertainty of the forecasts.

Beijing 2008 will also be a platform to assess the performance of these models in terms of societal benefits realized during the Olympic Games with the goal of improving these models for subsequent forecast challenges and transitioning research results into operations.

Olympic weather forecasts and information from CMA

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