GIS+ Meteorology Guarantees the Successful Launching of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

31 Oct,2023

Based on SuperMap GIS platform, Beijing Climate Center built the Winter Olympics climate risk assessment system. Through multi-scale, multi-dimensional and multi-perspective analysis of the Winter Olympics competition areas and venues, this system has provided a climate risk assessment covering all event venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The 24th Winter Olympic Games has been jointly held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou from February 4 to February 20, 2022. Compared with the Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics events, especially snow sports events held outdoors, are more vulnerable to meteorological conditions. Wind speed, wind strength, air temperature, and snow temperature can even directly affect the technical performance of athletes. Therefore, intuitive and efficient meteorological services and guarantees are particularly important. Then how the weather was monitored to provide reference for decision making during the competition?

Weather is the starting gun for the Winter Olympics

During the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi, where it’s supposed to be cold, had a world record high temperature of 19 degrees Celsius; the downhill race started an hour earlier than originally scheduled, and the slalom skiing was delayed by five hours; the high temperature led to more frequent falling accidents among athletes in snow sports such as skills and U-shaped pool. There is even the famous "three treasures of Sochi" consisting of sunglasses, beaches, and bikinis.

During the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the sensible temperature at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was -8.9°C at 22:00, and the wind gusts could reach 8.6m/s. The South Korea Winter Olympics Organizing Committee provided a variety of cold-proof supplies to the audience for free. The display of the Olympic rings at the opening ceremony was recorded in advance due to weather conditions. On the evening of February 23, due to strong winds and snowfall, the dress rehearsal of the closing ceremony "Beijing Eight Minutes" was interrupted and canceled.

When high-impact weather such as heavy snow, heavy fog (visibility<2 strong="" wind="" speed="">10 meters/second), strong warming (snow temperature >0°C) occurs, the competition will often be temporarily suspended, the schedule will be adjusted, and the competition will even be cancelled. During the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 10 events in alpine skiing were adjusted due to weather, 3 events in snowboarding were adjusted and 2 events in freestyle skiing.

In the exact words of a former race director, "they say I am the starting gun, but in fact the weather forecast and the actual situation on the field are the real starting gun."

The Beijing Climate Center has compiled and released the "Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympic Areas Meteorological Conditions and Gale Risk Analysis Report" for four consecutive years from 2019 to 2022. The content covers the analysis of meteorological conditions and meteorological risk assessment in the Beijing Winter Olympics areas during the same period over the past years. The characteristics of the above-mentioned extreme weather and climate events have been analyzed, and relevant statistical methods have been used to conduct risk assessments with the extreme weather and climate events that occurred in the three major competition areas during the same period in history, and the comprehensive impact of the extreme weather and climate events in the three major competition areas on the competition field have been analyzed in details.

To ensure the smooth progress of Beijing Winter Olympics, the Beijing Climate Center built the Winter Olympics climate risk assessment system based on SuperMap GIS platform. This system combines the characteristics of the Winter Olympics meteorological services and provides climate risk assessment products covering all event venues for the Winter Olympics through multi-scale, multi-dimensional and multi-perspective integrated analysis of the Winter Olympics competition areas and venues. The system is based on the climate risk assessment gained from the comparative analysis of historical long-sequence data and real-time monitoring data from automatic stations. It comprehensively uses various statistical and analytical technologies to produce venue maintenance and game-time risk assessment products based on the needs for safe operation of the Winter Olympics, providing meteorological services for the decision-making of the Winter Olympics organizing committee and improving the meteorological informatization and support service capabilities of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Designed specifically for events with full range of diagnosis and evaluation

Through the data from 155 national basic weather stations and 358 regional automatic stations in Beijing and Hebei and Winter Olympics stations, the system has  provided climate characteristic assessments for the three competition areas of Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou; for the five competition venues in the Beijing competition area, two competition venues in Yanqing Division and five venues in Zhangjiakou Division, it has provided outdoor and indoor venue meteorological condition assessments according to competition types; it has also provided meteorological risk assessment on precipitation, strong wind, low temperature, fog/haze and other events for a total of 15 major events and 102 minor events. Through the above services, it has provided strong support for venue location selection, event schedule, and other event work.

BJ-RUC mode application provides precise event services

During the preparations and competitions for the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics, athletes and the public have higher demands for the accuracy of weather forecasts. Weather forecasts also need to meet higher standards in terms of time and space, and this requires support from high-precision numerical weather prediction models. The system uses the numerical model products of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau's Rapidly Updated Circulation Numerical Forecasting System (BJ -RUC) to provide hourly forecast products for the next 10 days for each venue of the Winter Olympics. It has provided strong meteorological support for national team athletes preparing and training in various venues.

GIS empowerment with multi-dimensional visual data analysis

The system conducts data fusion analysis from different dimensions such as time, space, and meteorological risks. From the spatial dimension, with the help of GIS spatial visualization technology and graphical means, meteorological risk assessment and analysis based on the location of each competition venue in Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou competition areas are realized; from the dimension of time, real-time meteorological data analysis is realized hour by hour and day by day, and the analysis of historical contemporaneous data of the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Paralympic Games, as well as analysis of historical extreme meteorological conditions; in terms of meteorological risk, for factors such as temperature, strong winds, and precipitation that are closely related to the Winter Olympics events, the analysis of low temperature, strong winds, precipitation, sand dust and sandstorms and haze, etc. is conducted.

Based on GIS one map technology, the system clearly and effectively displays the distribution, climate characteristics and meteorological risks of each event venue in the three competition areas, having comprehensively improved the Winter Olympics meteorological decision-making service capabilities and informatization level, and provided information for the Winter Olympics Organizing Committee's decision-making work on various events.

GIS comprehensive visualization display of Winter Olympics climate risk


Since its establishment, the system has provided data support and decision-making basis for the preparation of the "Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympic Competition Area Meteorological Conditions and Strong Wind Risk Analysis Report" for many years. Meanwhile, it has also provided decision-makers with accurate decision-making basis for the construction and maintenance of the venue and played a significant role before and after the game. As a precious scientific and technological heritage of the Winter Olympics, the system has been put into daily climate business assessment work to provide refined and sustainable climate services for subsequent major events.

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