Accurate weather data is key to designing infrastructure like roads and buildings that can withstand and adapt to Canada’s changing climate. Standards can help.

CSA Group, with support from the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), has published a new National Standard of Canada (NSC) on collecting and sharing metadata from hydrometeorological stations. The standard is a Canadian adoption of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) metadata standard. It will help ensure the accuracy of Canadian data entered into the WMO’s Observing Systems Capability Analysis and Review (OSCAR) tool, a global climate data reporting platform. 

“This important new standard is a critical step in improving the quantity, quality, and shareability of Canadian weather and climate data,” says Chantal Guay, CEO of SCC. “Having useful information on more data points across Canada enables us to design infrastructure that can withstand and adapt to our changing climate—no matter where in Canada that infrastructure is being built.”

In Canada, the primary source for weather and climate information is Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Although ECCC has an extensive network of automatic surface weather observation and reference climate stations across the country, it does not collect data in many remote and northern regions of Canada. Without quality data, it is difficult for remote communities to generate the accurate climate projections needed to prepare for the future and build climate-resilient infrastructure. 

There are currently thousands of additional weather and climate monitoring stations across the country—operated by provinces, territories, municipalities, industry, universities, and other organizations—that are collecting useful information. The data they collect are not always usable for engineering purposes due to quality concerns, lack of compatibility, and/or inconsistencies related to site selection, operation, and instrumentation.

“CSA Group is excited to publish the first weather station standard in a new series on this topic. This new series will help mainstream best practices related to weather data including collection, sharing and dissemination, a topic of critical importance considering the climate challenges we face”, says Mary Cianchetti, President of Standards at CSA Group. “Through these standards we are supporting an increase in the development of reliable weather data to inform infrastructure design and improve our national climate resilience.”

CSA R100:20, Canadian metadata standard for hydrometeorological monitoring stations is the first in a four-part series of NSCs being developed to fill this gap. The remaining three standards in the series are expected to be published between now and 2022, providing:

  • a data quality rating system and accompanying user guide for applying the data quality rating system;
  • protocols for sharing atmospheric meteorological data; and
  • processes for the siting, design, operations, and maintenance of Canadian weather stations.

Collectively, these standards will help ensure that planners, designers, engineers, maintenance personnel, and asset managers can confidently tap into data from any weather station or network adhering to those standards, whether it is operated by ECCC or another organization. 

The development of these standards is funded under the Standards Council of Canada’s Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program, with in-kind support from Environment and Climate Change Canada. Canadians can access these standards at no cost until 2024 thanks to this funding.

For no-fee view access to the standard, visit CSA Store (link is external).

About CSA Group

CSA Group is a global organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. We are a leader in Standards Development and in Testing, Inspection and Certification around the world including Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia. Our mandate is to hold the future to a higher standard. The mission of CSA Group’s Standard Development organization is to enhance the lives of Canadians through the advancement of standards in the public and private sectors.  We are a leader in standards research, development, education, and advocacy. The technical and management standards developed with our 10,000 members improve safety, health, the environment, and economic efficiency in Canada and beyond.

About the Standards Council of Canada

Established in 1970 as a federal Crown corporation, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is Canada’s voice on standards and accreditation on the national and international stage. SCC works closely with a vast network of partners to promote the development of effective and efficient standards that protect the health, safety and well-being of Canadians while helping businesses prosper. As Canada’s leading accreditation organization, SCC creates market confidence at home and abroad by ensuring that conformity assessment bodies meet the highest national and international standards. SCC advances Canada’s interest on the international scene as a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) by connecting thousands of people to global networks and resources, opening a world of possibilities for Canadians and businesses.

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© Standards Council of Canada, 2020