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Natacha B. Bernier, Stéphane Bélair, Bernard Bilodeau, and Linying Tong

Abstract

A high-resolution 2D near-surface and land surface model was developed to produce snow and temperature forecasts over the complex alpine region of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The model is driven by downscaled operational outputs from the Meteorological Service of Canada’s regional and global forecast models. Downscaling is applied to correct forcings for elevation differences between the operational forecast models and the high-resolution surface model. The high-resolution near-surface and land surface model is then used to further refine the forecasts. The model was validated against temperature and snow depth observations. The largest improvements were found in regions where low-resolution (i.e., on the order of 10 km or more) operational models typically lack the spatial resolution to capture rapid elevation changes. The model was found to better reproduce the intermittent snow cover at low-lying stations and to reduce snow depth error by as much as 3 m at alpine stations.

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