Natural facts: how is the mountain weather forecast at the Winter Olympics?

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“There are four seasons in a mountain, and different days in ten miles,” is an old saying in China that describes the weather changing so quickly and frequently in the mountains, which is also expected at the Olympics in winter, especially in the snow. based on events.

For example, the significant vertical drop required in alpine skiing has a significant impact on weather conditions. As an alpine skiing venue for the Winter Olympics, Xiaohaituo Mountain in the Yanqing Competition Area has a vertical drop of about 830 meters from the starting point at about 2,190 meters to the ending point at about 1,360 meters. Therefore, the temperature difference between the top and the foot of the mountain can reach nearly five degrees Celsius while the temperature drops 0.6 degrees Celsius for every 100 meters above sea level. Weather affects directly the preparation of the Games, the fairness of the competitions and the safety of the athletes, etc.

Given the strong dependence on weather conditions, accurate weather forecasts during the Winter Olympics are particularly important.

What is the Weather Team’s forecast for the Winter Olympics? What is the difference in the mountain weather forecast for the Winter Olympics?

Yanqing competition area. /Beijing Organizing Committee

Yanqing competition area. /Beijing Organizing Committee

With less than 10 days to go until the official start of the Winter Olympics, the weather forecasting team began issuing reports every hour of the day.

The weather forecast involves many things, including precipitation, snow depth, phase of precipitation, average wind, gusts, temperature, visibility, dust, PM2.5, and more.

“Different threshold wind has different influence on cable car and athletes. In addition, the amount of snow can be accurate within tenths of a millimeter. Only a small amount of snow can cause ice on the road in some conditions,” said Yu Bo, deputy head of the Yanqing Winter Olympics meteorological team and deputy director of the Beijing Meteorological Observatory.

Accurate weather forecasts during the Winter Olympics are especially important. /China Meteorological Administration (CMA)

Accurate weather forecasts during the Winter Olympics are especially important. /China Meteorological Administration (CMA)

In previous Winter Olympics, weather forecasts were based on a kilometer grid, with hourly updates ranging from half an hour to an hour.

The Beijing Winter Olympics strives to achieve “100-meter level, minute level” weather forecast.

The team can provide a weather forecast every 10 minutes and every 100 meters or less.

Yanqing Meteorological Service Sub-Center for the Winter Olympics. /CMA

Yanqing Meteorological Service Sub-Center for the Winter Olympics. /CMA

“For 20 years, until the Games in 2022, the Winter Olympics have almost all been held in areas of oceanic monsoon climate. Here it is the continental monsoon climate, which is very different,” said she declared.

Considering the weather service guarantee of the previous Winter Olympics, there is no mature and fully applicable technical scheme in the world for the Beijing Winter Olympics. Therefore, the Beijing Winter Olympics weather service guarantee is a challenge, with difficulties in the development and breakthrough of weather forecasting technology.

The weather forecasting team has spent five winters in Yanqing now, all to gather data and get a full understanding of the local weather.

“Over the past five years, we have gradually understood and familiarized ourselves with the weather in the competition area, and have made field trips and experiments in various ways, including experiencing the weather on different courses and at different altitudes,” she said.

(CGTN’s Sun Ye also contributed to the story; cover image designed by CGTN’s Feng Yuan)

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