, Volume 171, Issue 1-2, pp 1-24

Science of Nowcasting Olympic Weather for Vancouver 2010 (SNOW-V10): a World Weather Research Programme Project

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Abstract

A World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) project entitled the Science of Nowcasting Olympic Weather for Vancouver 2010 (SNOW-V10) was developed to be associated with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games conducted between 12 February and 21 March 2010. The SNOW-V10 international team augmented the instrumentation associated with the Winter Games and several new numerical weather forecasting and nowcasting models were added. Both the additional observational and model data were available to the forecasters in real time. This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate existing capability in nowcasting and to develop better techniques for short term (0–6 h) nowcasts of winter weather in complex terrain. Better techniques to forecast visibility, low cloud, wind gusts, precipitation rate and type were evaluated. The weather during the games was exceptionally variable with many periods of low visibility, low ceilings and precipitation in the form of both snow and rain. The data collected should improve our understanding of many physical phenomena such as the diabatic effects due to melting snow, wind flow around and over terrain, diurnal flow reversal in valleys associated with daytime heating, and precipitation reductions and increases due to local terrain. Many studies related to these phenomena are described in the Special Issue on SNOW-V10 for which this paper was written. Numerical weather prediction and nowcast models have been evaluated against the unique observational data set now available. It is anticipated that the data set and the knowledge learned as a result of SNOW-V10 will become a resource for other World Meteorological Organization member states who are interested in improving forecasts of winter weather.