Environment Canada opens up to open source

Environment Canada is using an open source model for its Model of the Environment and Temperature of Roads (METRo) forecasting system, in an effort to help provide the community of meteorologists and road maintainers with accurate forecasting software.

METRo 3, the newest iteration of software released last year, inputs atmospheric forecasts, road composition and observations from road weather stations to produce a local road forecast ranging from up to a 48-hour period. The system, designed for winter road forecasting, was created in the python programming language and can perform its forecasts on a standard desktop in less than two seconds.

"By having a temperature and condition for roads, you can choose what type of road salt you should use, the quantities you should use and, most importantly, when you should use it," Miguel Tremblay, physicist and METRo developer, said.