Upgrades to the MSC's National Climate and Water Archives
With the proliferation of automatic weather and climate stations, there has been a rapid increase in the number of variables being reported. Due to the high volume of new weather and climate elements and finer sampling intervals, some climate, marine and hydrometric elements being observed are not decoded, quality controlled or ingested in the MSC digital archive. Another limitation of the current MSC digital archive is that it was traditionally designed to only handle point form data (i.e. 3D: stationary latitude, longitude and elevation). With new monitoring technology, the Archive needs to be retooled to handle 4D data, volumetric RADAR data, as well as multiple values for the same element at the same location. New database technology now has the capability of processing such data.
A Doppler RADAR archive project was completed this year, adding volume scans and image data to the MSC digital archive. Some of this data will be available on-line this fall. A second project, the New Elements project, was initiated to assess the work required in order to archive new weather and climate elements. For the purpose of this project, new daily, hourly and one-minute data were considered as candidates for archiving. By 2006, several new elements will be available in MSC's digital archive. In the past, many of these new elements could not be accommodated by the existing alphanumeric bulletins, and consequently only the raw data were archived, but were not in a usable format. This restriction was removed in the mid-1990's by the use of BUFR bulletins. The self-descriptive nature of this binary bulletin format allows all forms of observed data to be encoded, therefore all these data are theoretically available for archiving upon decoding.