Weather Forecast Research Team (WFRT)

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
What the facility does

Numerical weather prediction for clean energy, transportation, special events and natural disasters.

Areas of expertise

Automated weather forecasts tailored for clients in Canada. Expertise in ensemble numerical weather modelling, mountain meteorology, air-quality meteorology, hydrometeorology, sports meteorology and coastal meteorology. Wind, hydro and solar energy. Forest-fire meteorology. Climate model downscaling.

Research services
  • Real-time weather-forecast maps and animations spanning all of Canada/ with horizontal granularity as fine as 1.3 kilometres in western Canada, including new forecasts for the Canadian Arctic,
  • Weather-forecast data files in various formats (GRIB/ NetCDF/ Vis5D/ CALMET/ etc.) for use as input to other models,
  • Data and graphs predicting temperature/ wind/ humidity/ precipitation/ sunshine-clouds out to eight days,
  • Statistical post-processing of weather forecasts: ensemble average/ probability forecasts/ bias correction/ ensemble calibration/ analog ensembles/ recent climatologies and verifications,
  • Tailored products such as electric-load forecasts/ reservoir-inflow forecasts/ wind-turbine hub-height forecasts/ road-weather forecasts/ smoke-spread forecasts and ski-slope forecasts,
  • Reforecasts of critical events or case studies at high resolution (up to 0.1 kilometre horizontal granularity),
  • Deployment of automated weather stations and management of weather databases,
  • Development of new numerical methods/ such as computational acceleration with graphics processing units/ Lagrangian dynamical cores/ higher-order turbulence closure/ etc.,
  • Automated delivery of forecast products via secure web/ FTP/ emails/ etc.
Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)
  • Defence and security industries
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Financial services and insurance
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Ocean industries
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
400+ core high-performance computer cluster with high-speed switches optimized for computational fluid dynamics and numerical weather prediction (NWP). Many tens of peripheral file servers, RAID arrays, web servers, database servers, graphics processors, tape backups and development computers. Operational reliability is enhanced with additional smaller forecast and database machines that provide redundancy.This “single lab” resource is dedicated to large NWP runs that can each take many hours on hundreds of cores. Operational twice-daily real-time NWP runs are initialized from 00 UTC and 12 UTC National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) initializations. We currently run numerical models called WRF, MM5 and MC2 as multi-model, multi-initial-condition, multi-grid-resolution ensembles. Other hours each day are used for case-study research runs and parallel development runs. We specialize in tailoring the forecast domain and output products to the needs of our clients.
  • BC Hydro
  • BlueSky-Canada (forest-fire smoke)
  • 2010 Winter Olympics Own the Podium
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • National Defence
  • The University of British Columbia
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research