89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009: 1:45 PM
Complexities of Establishing an Automated Monitoring System Network in Support of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
Room 130 (Phoenix Convention Center)
William L. Scott, EC, Richmond, BC, Canada
Since the bid was awarded in 2004 to Vancouver/Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Meteorological Service of Canada has been involved with setting up a network of automated data monitoring and collection systems. The entire area surrounding the Whistler and Callaghan Valley venues and the areas meteorologically upstream were very data sparse. To complicate matters, much of the area is inaccessible, thickly treed, steeply sloped and exposed to extreme winter weather conditions.

Although a primary focus was to install systems within the venues, it became clear that additional automated systems were required along the Sunshine Coast and along the eastern side of Vancouver Island. Although approximately 35 new or upgraded automated systems have now been installed such that the 'core' Olympic Autostation Network' is now functional, by the time of the events of 2010 there may be 50 - 60. Although most are new systems, wherever possible exisiting systems were upgraded and cooperatives with other government agencies have been established to utilize their systems for Olympic forecasting purposes.

To maintain these systems in the extremely harsh climate of the Coast Mountains so that the winter data collection continues as accurately as possible has proven to be very complex and high maintenance. The intent of installing this network as much in advance of the Olympics as possible and to gather data over several prior winters has proven to be extremely important. Although the primary client for these new systems is the weather forecast operations of MSC, other clients include weather modelling, climatological studies, public weather information and the specific requirements of the Olympic sport events. System installation locations and sensor siting had to be optimized to meet these client requirements.

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