The Beijing 2008 Olympics Research and Development Project (B08RDP), initiated in 2004 under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), undertook the research and development of mesoscale ensemble prediction systems (MEPSs) and their application to weather forecast support during the Beijing Olympic Games. Six MEPSs from six countries, representing the state-of-the-art regional EPSs with near-real-time capabilities and emphasizing on the 6–36-h forecast lead times, participated in the project.
The background, objectives, and implementation of B08RDP, as well as the six MEPSs, are reviewed. The accomplishments are summarized, which include 1) providing value-added service to the Olympic Games, 2) advancing MEPS-related research, 3) accelerating the transition from research to operations, and 4) training forecasters in utilizing forecast uncertainty products. The B08RDP has fulfilled its research (MEPS development) and demonstration (value-added service) purposes. The research conducted covers the areas of verification, examining the value of MEPS relative to other numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems, combining multimodel or multicenter ensembles, bias correction, ensemble perturbations [initial condition (IC), lateral boundary condition (LBC), land surface IC, and model physics], downscaling, forecast applications, data assimilation, and storm-scale ensemble modeling. Seven scientific issues important to MEPS have been identified. It is recognized that the daily use of forecast uncertainty information by forecasters remains a challenge. Development of forecaster-friendly products and training activities should be a long-term effort and needs to be continuously enhanced.
The B08RDP dataset is also a valuable asset to the research community. The experience gained in international collaboration, organization, and implementation of a multination regional EPS for a common goal and to address common scientific issues can be shared by the ongoing projects The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble—Limited Area Models (TIGGE-LAM) and North American Ensemble Forecast System—Limited Area Models (NAEFS-LAM).