Advanced meteorological facilities and a state-of-the-art weather forecasting network will provide quality weather services in real time during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Winter Games to ensure the smooth running of outdoor sports events, authorities said.
Seventeen automated meteorological observation stations and four emergency backup stations have been built in competition areas in Beijing’s Yanqing district, along with three meteorological stations in competition zones in urban parts of the capital.
The stations are capable of monitoring multiple weather elements, including wind direction and speed, rainfall, air and ground temperature and humidity, atmospheric pressure and radiation, and can report with high frequency, said Zhang Man, deputy director of the Beijing Meteorological Observation Center.
Shi Shaoying, head of an 11-member meteorological service team for the Yanqing competition area, said quality weather forecasting is of great importance to outdoor Winter Olympics events because athletes’ performances－and even whether an event can be held at all－are connected to meteorological factors.
Alpine skiing, for example, which will be held at the National Alpine Skiing Center on Haituo Mountain in Yanqing, has specific weather requirements.
“The vision of skiers and referees will be affected if the visibility is too low,” Shi said.”The amount and type of snowboard waxing are closely linked to the temperature and quality of snow, while the wind speed and amount of snow determine whether the event can be carried out as scheduled.
“If we can forecast the weather accurately, we can make timely adjustments.”
After four years of site surveys on the mountain, she said her team can produce a high-resolution forecast every minute for each 100 meters of course.
During the 14th National Winter Games in January, the team forecast gales ahead of an alpine skiing event in Yanqing, prompting the event to be rescheduled.
“At that time, there was no wind in urban Beijing, but Haituo Mountain had strong wind,” Shi said. “We reported it to the organizing committee and they took our advice. It turned out the forecast was accurate.”
She said the result received recognition from the International Ski Federation.
The team also accurately forecast wind and rain in October during a pre-certification test for the National Sliding Center in Yanqing, which will host the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge competitions during the Games, Shi said.
All three competition areas for the Games, which also include Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, aim to reach the same level of weather forecasting, with professionals having the same training and sharing experiences regularly to ensure high-quality services, Shi said.
She said domestic competitions will be held in Yanqing in February and March to gain more experience and improve the team’s forecasting ability.
Yan Hongliang, a member of her team, said weather forecasting is challenging in mountainous regions as there is a large difference in winds and temperatures at the top and bottom of peaks and the landforms are complex.
With the help of more complete data, the team can now issue weather reports for the Yanqing venues in Chinese and English every day, Yan said.