Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weather and the 2012 London Olympics

Climate information and weather forecasts are critical for every Olympic Games, be it those in Salt Lake or those forthcoming in London from 27 July – 12 August.

The UK Met Office, the United Kingdom's version of our National Weather Service, is contributing to climate and weather support for London 2012.  They have a great web page that provides access to weather statistics and forecasts for Olympic venues.
For example, those with deep pockets who are heading to the Games can get a quick glimpse climatology for London.

Source: UK Met Office
Curiously, the table above is nearly all based on mks units, except for wind speed, which is in mph.  In operations, US meteorologists typically use mks for everything except surface temperature, dewpoint, and wind (which is what I do for the blog most of the time).  Yes, we are weird.  Most scientists out there I'm sure are laughing.  

With many Olympic venues indoors, most of the weather concerns probably revolve around those few venues that are weather sensitive, mitigating and adapting to potential weather impacts on transportation, and addressing public safety in areas where people are congregating outdoors.  There are also some weather-related security issues, such as dealing with the atmospheric transport of an accidental or terrorist release of hazardous materials, which we all hope doesn't happen.  

London is well known for crappy weather, so perhaps the most humorous venue is the Horse Guards Parade in central London, which serves as host for the Olympic "beach" volleyball events.  

Source: BBC
It's not exactly SoCal and, depending on how the weather pans out, it could be quite uncomfortable.  Given that the pro beach volleyball tour used to visit Seattle, they will probably survive.   Then again, Seattle has better weather than London in July and August.  In fact, the UK Met Office web page for the beach volleyball venue says
"Beach volleyball is more commonly played in warmer, drier locations such as California and Hawaii. Players prefer dry conditions as rain can make the ball slippery and difficult to control. Athletes will also be hoping for still conditions as the wind could affect the accuracy of their passes."
Perhaps a spot of tea will be needed instead of Gatorade during some matches!

1 comment:

  1. Unless it is really windy, that won't be a problem for volleyball. They play in stiff sea breeze conditions all the time. A problem with rain, other than the ball getting slippery, is that the ball absorbs water and gains a substantial amount of weight. Another factor is that rain packs the sand down making it easier to run and jump. Conditions like this definitely benefit the lower seeds.