89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009: 11:45 AM
A comprehensive training program for forecasters at Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Room 122BC (Phoenix Convention Center)
Bradley J. Snyder, MSC, Vancouver, BC, Canada; and T. Smith, C. Doyle, and D. Wesley
The Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) has been tasked with the provision of forecasts in support of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Provision of high spatial and temporal resolution forecasts for these games poses a significant training challenge for the MSC. The Olympic forecast team comprises meteorologists from across Canada as well as from two National Weather Services (USA) offices. Many of these forecasters have little local weather knowledge. Moreover, most operational meteorologists lack a solid grounding in the theoretical fundamentals of mountain meteorology.

Traditional approaches to training new meteorologists in MSC have included classroom teaching of theoretical meteorology followed by on the job training. Indeed, a 2006 survey of operational meteorologists across MSC and parts of the NWS revealed that “Double-banking with experts” (i.e., working alongside an experienced forecaster) was considered the most effective mode of training.

In order to put the forecasters in the best position to succeed in 2010, a multi-pronged training approach was devised to train the team. This has included both theoretical training and practical training at the Olympic venues. Specifically:

Theoretical Foundation - In addition, a series of Mountain Weather Workshops have been delivered in Boulder, CO in conjunction with the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET). Experts in the field of mountain meteorology presented lectures to the forecast team and afternoon lab sessions were given to allow students to apply some of the new-found knowledge.

Practical Training - To date, there have been two seasons of practicum training at Olympic venues. These have been accompanied by simulators and double banking.

The investment in this training will continue up until 2010 with more classroom course and practicum sessions. The end result shall be a group of highly qualified meteorologists and a legacy of training material and methods for future applications

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