While foundation works are nearing completion, as Al Wakrah Stadium readies to begin emerging from the ground, there is already a structure shooting sky-wards nearby. It is a tower which reaches 10m into the sky and is placed on a surface of 10m x 10m.
Recently installed at the construction site for the Al Wakrah Stadium, the weather station will provide valuable information about temperature, humidity, precipitation intensity and visibility, among other factors.
The cooling systems designed for the stadium, at the proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, will automatically adapt its performance in response to local weather conditions using the information provided by the weather station, allowing football to be played year-round even after the tournament has concluded.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has recently finished installation of the first of these weather stations at Al Wakrah Stadium.
The station was developed and installed by the Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC), which has experience in operating and maintaining national weather stations.
British mechanical engineer, Dr. Nelson Chilengwe, a cooling expert at the SC who is originally from Zambia, explained that external conditions need to be known by cooling technology designers.
Dr. Chilengwe advised:
We usually get this information from data based on national weather station measurements, like the one at the airport, but for our programme, we wanted to know exactly what the weather is like close to our stadium sites.
The weather station includes several pieces of equipment that offer a number of services, including a sun tracker, sensors for selected gases, solar-powered monitoring of particulate matter, temperature and humidity sensors, among others.
The QMIC, located at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), will install two further weather stations for the SC at the Al Rayyan and Lusail stadium precincts. After installation, they will start collecting and analysing data for an initial period of three years.
We have just completed installation at Al Wakrah Stadium. The station monitors and collects information 24-hours a day but we have configured the system to record meteorological data every five minutes, while air quality is recorded every 15 minutes.
This information will enable SC experts to measure what the current temperatures are, and optimise the cooling system at the stadium for football to be played year-round even after the tournament has concluded.
So far we have used several years of historical data to predict what the weather conditions are likely to be in 2022. With this equipment we can compare between our predictions and the actual parameters we are measuring on the site.
Engineers take into account external conditions and use that information to determine how much cooling is needed to achieve the required conditions inside the stadium.
“With these localised stations we will be able to determine exactly what the temperature is and automatically control operation of cooling systems against the external conditions, year-round in Qatar as a legacy element,” said the expert.
Chilengwe clarified that, although it’s not new to have a weather station close to a stadium:
It may be that we’re using it differently because of the range and types of instruments we have. The beauty of our project is that we can collect the data from the three stations and then access it from a centralised system and see the comparisons of the three stations. This can also be then compared against what other national weather stations are reporting.
The SC already used data collected from a small weather station to adjust the cooling system during the operation of the Brazil 2014 Fan Zone at Katara Beach in Doha. Chilengwe was also part of the team that designed and installed cooling technology that allowed the successful delivery of an open-air cooled Fan Zone at Katara.
We continually tracked external parameters with a small weather station on site and we compared this with the data from the airport weather station. We used the data we were measuring to fine-tune our cooling system.