Environment and Climate Change Canada

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The Meteorological Service of Canada is a division of Environment and Climate Change Canada, which primarily provides public meteorological information and weather forecasts and warnings of severe weather and other environmental hazards. MSC also monitors and conducts research on climate, atmospheric science, air quality, water quantities, ice and other environmental issues. 

This year, the MSC marks 150 years of providing quality weather forecasting and information services to Canadians.

Industry : Government institution
Founded : 1871


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Development of a weather text generator

Weather forecasts include many ways to express possible forecasts. However, the texts of the forecasts are very structured and very limited in their formulation. In addition, there is only one “good” standard way of reporting the weather considering a given set of concepts.

In order to continue to provide quality weather forecast and information services to Canadians, the MSC wishes to develop a weather forecast text generator, in English and French, which uses meteorological concepts representing, in coded form, the weather forecast.

  • Build a prototype that demonstrates the feasibility of a modern natural language processing approach to develop a weather forecast text generator.
  • Obtain an estimate of the strengths and areas for improvement of such an approach compared to the existing system.

A compendium of approximately 7,600 weather codes and derived texts will serve as the basis for the exercise. The data that will be used are of two types:

  • The “predictors”: these are ASCII data files in .txt format, non-tabulated, which are a description of the weather forecast, encoded according to very simple and limited keywords.
  • The “observations”: these are weather forecast files in the form of ASCII text, .txt, which are the weather forecasts as they appear on our website: Montreal, QC – 7-day forecast – Environment Canada (at: meteo.gc.ca)


Guy Lapalme
Emeritus Professor – Department of Computer Science, Université de Montréal.

Fabrizio Gotti
Computer scientist specialized in NLP – Applied Research in Computational Linguistics, Université de Montréal.

Didier Davignon
Chief, Expert Systems and Geospatial Data, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Jean-François Deschenes
Scientific Team Leader, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Jacques Marcoux
Applied Research Meteorologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Franco Petrucci
Business Development Meteorologist, The Meteorogical Service of Canada.

Fabien Perineau
Partnership Advisor, IVADO.

Jérémy Rieussec
PhD in Computer Science, Université de Montréal.