Environment Canada

Environment Canada

March 28, 2009 14:15 ET

Government of Canada Unveils New Doppler Radar for 2010 Winter Games

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 28, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, today announced a new Doppler radar, the final piece of technology installed to provide weather forecasting for the 2010 Winter Games.

"Since 2003, Environment Canada has been training and preparing to deliver weather services for the Games," said Minister Prentice. "With this final installation of the new Doppler radar, we are ready to provide the real-time weather information that 2010 decision-makers need to keep the Olympics safe and fair."

"Obtaining accurate information about the complex weather in south-western B.C will enhance the safety and security of the Games," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport). "This new system will also help athletes prepare for weather conditions during competitions."

The Doppler radar provides Environment Canada's forecasters with important information about the motion and structure of weather systems in the Callaghan Valley, on Whistler Mountain and along the Sea-to-Sky Highway. The radar, located just outside of Whistler, will help determine if and when a storm could cause severe weather that will impact the Games or safety of the public.

For the 2010 Winter Games, the Government of Canada has committed $13.4 million to provide weather services for Games operations, leadership on Games sustainability, and environmental assessments on Olympic venues. Hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is a unique opportunity for Canada to showcase its accomplishments and innovations to the world, while realizing sustainable environmental, social, cultural, and economic benefits across the country and for all Canadians.

For more information about the Government of Canada's role in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit www.canada2010.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

ENVIRONMENT CANADA'S WEATHER FORECASTING ROLE IN THE 2010 WINTER GAMES

Environment Canada is playing an important role in the planning and delivery of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The department has committed $13.4 million to provide advanced weather services for the Games; to provide federal leadership and coordination regarding the environmental sustainability of the Games; and to contribute scientific and technical expertise to the environmental assessment process for Olympic-related venues and infrastructure.

Environment Canada will provide detailed weather predictions before and during the 2010 Winter Games. The weather forecasts, warnings, and information are essential for the safety, security, and delivery of the 2010 Winter Games. In fact, the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), the International Olympic Committee and sports officials will make crucial operational decisions during the Games based on weather information provided by Environment Canada.

Environment Canada's weather forecasts will:

- Help athletes prepare for the conditions they will face when they compete.

- Promote fairness by ensuring all athletes in a competition face the same conditions.

- Keep spectators and local residents safe by supporting emergency preparedness.

How Environment Canada is Delivering

Technology

Environment Canada has installed a Doppler radar, a wind profiler, and a network of automated weather stations for the 2010 Winter Games. This technology will provide weather information for event organizers.

Doppler Radar

The installation of the Doppler radar is the final piece of technology signaling EC's weather forecasting readiness. It is located about 6 km west of Whistler, near the entrance to the Callaghan Valley (on a service road beside the Whistler Waste Transfer Station). This land has been donated by the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

A Doppler radar indicates to weather forecasters the location and intensity of precipitation as well as the direction and speed of the associated wind field. Information from the Doppler radar can be analyzed to help determine if a storm will cause severe weather.

This Doppler radar will provide meteorologists with data for the areas north over the Nordic Ski Centre, east over Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain, and south over the Sea-to-Sky Highway. This data was previously unavailable.

Wind Profiler

This specialized weather equipment was installed at an Environment Canada weather station site at the Squamish Airport in 2007 and is now operational.

A wind profiler is a piece of weather observing equipment that uses radar or sound waves to detect wind speed and direction at various altitudes. The profiler also includes a Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS) that will indicate the temperature at different altitudes, up-to two kilometers above the profiler.

Wind profiler data is very useful, as wind speed and direction can indicate areas of turbulence or wind shear. This equipment will also help profile the air above the sea-to-sky area, determining the type of precipitation to hit the ground.

Weather Stations

Environment Canada has created a complex sensor system composed of standard automatic weather stations, remote video camera systems and other complex sensor systems. The complete sensor system includes 50 to 60 new or upgraded pieces.

Forecasting

Environment Canada's research will make it easier to predict high-impact weather, such as blizzards or extreme wind. A team of professional meteorologists from within Environment Canada and other organizations are training to develop expertise in the weather of southwest British Columbia. They will be on-site at each venue delivering real-time information to event decision-makers.

Partnerships

Environment Canada is working closely with the British Columbia government and local municipalities to coordinate weather services.

Environment Canada's 2010 Legacy: Canadians Are Safer

Canadians will benefit from improved local and national weather forecasts thanks to the knowledge and the science developed for the 2010 Winter Games. We will know more about the complex weather conditions of coastal British Columbia and mountainous regions in general. The advanced equipment and research will be used in the national weather monitoring network, providing better forecasts and greater safety for Canadians.

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca