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Mar 11, 2016 01:30 PM

Science and Technology

Read about the meteorological system essential for outdoor events

Mapping weather conditions is determinant for good performance in several sports. With federal investments, monitoring provides support to IOC and will become a legacy
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Photo: Danilo Borges/
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The Federal Government invested R$ 2.05 million in the purchase of three meteo-oceanographic buoys, which will be at Guanabara Bay and Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Games. Picture: Francisco Medeiros/Ministry of Sport
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Photo: Danilo Borges/
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Photo: Danilo Borges/
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Knowledge Centre façade, beside the Engenhão stadium, also visited by the delegation. Picture: JP Engelbrecht/ Rio City Hall
boias_mcti.jpgPhoto: Danilo Borges/

Weather conditions for sports played outdoors make a different in the performance of athletes and preparation put in place by the events' organisers. In sports like sailing, wind and tide are determining factors for the competition's result. The height of the waves on a certain day may require different logistics for the open water swimming support teams.

In order to monitor this and other variables, as well as drafting reports with more complete data for the staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Federal Government has invested R$ 2.05 million in the acquisition of three meteo-oceanographic buoys, which will be spread out in Guanabara Bay and Copacabana Beach at Games Time.

Since July 2015, two of the buoys have been operating in Guanabara Bay, where the sailing events will take place at the Games.

Continuing their visit to Olympic projects in Rio de Janeiro, the Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation Celso Pansera and of Sport George Hilton, visited the Navy's Hydrographic Centre in the municipality of Niterói this Wednesday (09.03).

Photo: Danilo Borges/

"Our role is looking at issues that involve meteorology. We acquired three buoys, which will allow the National Institute for Space Research to develop the modelling that will be used at Games Time", stated Pansera. The Minister of Science and Technology also pointed out the importance of reports generated to establish team strategies at the Rio 2016 Games. "The day before the competitions, we're going to give delegations the modelling of how the sea and wind are going to behave, so that each team is able to put their strategy together", he continued.

Professor Mauro Cirano, from the Geoscience Institute of the Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ), pointed out that the observation system that will be available for the 2016 Rio Games is able to analyse more information than the volume requested by the mega event's organisers. "In addition to measuring atmospheric parameters, like wind, humidity, irradiation, the buoys measure oceanographic parameters, like tides, waves, temperature and water salinity. Actually, they monitor a higher number of parameters that the ones required by the International Olympic Committee", he explained.

President of the Olympic Public Authority (APO) Marcelo Pedroso, pointed out the integration between city hall, state and federal governments to offer the service needed by the International Olympic Committee. "We're doing inter-agency integrated work, with several service rendering government bodies and our goal was to establish a unified platform that allows for the supplied data to be integrated".

Both buoys installed in Guanabara Bay generate data and graphs in real time, which may be seen on the internet by anyone. After the Rio 2016 Games, the equipment, which runs on solar power will be incorporated to the Brazilian Coast Monitoring System (SimCosta). "The idea is for these buoys to be part of a wider reaching project, monitoring several points along the Brazilian coast. This will be an Olympic legacy", said Cirano.

The project that monitors Brazil's coast was implemented with resources of the Weather Fund from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), and is being coordinated and fostered by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. SimCosta brings together researchers from all over Brazil, who with data collected are able to issue warning for extreme events, predict weather processes, provide information on coastal ecosystems, as well as mapping vulnerabilities.

The Federal Government has also set up three surface weather stations, which provide climate related measures, like rainfall for instance. The equipment will provide the mega event organisers with more information and were placed in strategic points in Rio de Janeiro, where Olympic competitions will take place, like Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (rowing), the Olympic Golf Course and the Navy Centre in Nitéroi.

Back up

In addition to the two buoys in operation and the third that will be placed in Copacabana, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation intends on procuring a fourth piece of equipment to use as a back up for the Olympics and Paralympics.

"It's all ready, but we're looking into what we ca procure in terms of equipment to ensure redundancy, in case something unexpected happens during the Olympics", said Pansera. The goal is to have a back up to replace the ones being used in case something goes wrong. The buoys are inspected every 15 days where they are anchored and undergo a more thorough maintenance process every two months on land. The sensors go through a cleaning process regularly, as they get encrusted with the sea fauna.

The Navy has nine vessels that assist in the production of the country's nautical maps and collect data for weather services. The ministers visited the Vital de Oliveira ship, anchored at the Navy's Hydrographic Centre, the first in Brazil fully aimed at this type of research.

Knowledge Centre façade, beside the Engenhão stadium, also visited by the delegation. Picture: JP Engelbrecht/ Rio City Hall

Knowledge Centre

Then, Minister Pansera and the National Secretary of High Performance Sport Ricardo Leyser flew over the Nilton Santos (Engenhão) Stadium, stage of athletics events, as well as some Olympic football matches. The delegation arrived on the arena's pitch and followed to the building where the "Olympic City Knowledge Centre" is being built, a Rio de Janeiro City Hall cultural project.

The venue will be used to disseminate content and information on the history of the Olympics and its sports, as well as changes in the city of Rio. The "Knowledge Centre" is located at Praça do Trem and covers an area of 35 thousand m². In addition, it will have a two kilometre long cycle lane, a promenade surrounded by trees, which will provide access to the stadium, as well as two renovated hangars and an administrative building. The new venue, which will be opened in May, is expected to provide services to around two thousand people.

Gabriel Fialho -