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Director Speaking on Observatory's Latest Developments
(20 March 2012)

 
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming, today (20 March) briefed the media on the latest developments of the Observatory.

Mr Shun was pleased to report that the Observatory had won 16 international and local awards in the past year covering service enhancement, information and communication technology, and community engagement. These awards represent wide recognition of the Observatorys achievements.

In weather forecasting service, Mr Shun remarked that the Observatory had achieved quite good results. In the latest survey conducted in October 2011 by an independent market survey company, about 80% of the Observatory's weather forecasts were considered accurate by the public, the highest since 2006. The Observatory has also made progress in seasonal forecasts with the colder than normal weather correctly predicted for the past winter (December 2011 - February 2012).

Mr Shun said that the Observatory had also taken great strides in enhancing the delivery of services over the internet, mobile platforms and social network platforms. A new record in the access rate of the Observatory's website was set in 2011, registering a total of 6.2 billion, about 3.4 times that of 2010. In particular, the access rate of "MyObservatory" soared to 1.9 billion in 2011, exceeding the figure for the entire Observatory's website in 2010.

Last year, the Observatory launched on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization, the mobile application "MyWorldWeather" on iPhone platform which is the world's first weather service for people on the move, automatically providing official weather forecasts of the city nearest to the user. The Observatory also broke new ground by disseminating quick earthquake messages through Twitter and Weibo for the public around 10 minutes after the occurrence of strong earthquakes.

Regarding partnership, the Observatory collaborated with the Government Flying Service to use its fixed-wing aircraft for collecting for the first time unique data near the centre of the Tropical Storm Haima in June 2011.

Looking ahead, Mr Shun saw the future direction of providing weather forecast of higher resolution. He announced that from today onwards, when a change in weather is expected in its local weather forecasts, for example, when the weather will change from fine to rainy, the Observatory would adopt two weather icons, instead of just one icon, so as to highlight the weather change. The Observatory would explore using similar approach in providing more detailed forecast for the first few days of the 7-day forecast. For people on the move, a higher resolution iPad version of "MyObservatory" was unveiled today. To better alert members of the public of impending inclement weather, the Observatory will provide "special weather tips" on the front page of the Observatory website. A new product for "MyObservatory" featuring location-specific rainfall forecast in the next couple of hours is also in the pipeline for this year.

Building on the Observatory's productive interaction with the aviation, shipping, fisherman, elderly and education communities, the Observatory will further extend its engagement to other sectors of the society progressively. As a new initiative of the Community Weather Information Network (Co-WIN), a new web platform for students and other contributing members to post weather photos and reports for sharing purpose, known as the Community Weather Observing Scheme, will be officially launched later this year, with a view to further promoting public education in weather and climate.

For the annual weather outlook this year, considering the influence of La Nina during the spring, the Observatory expects the typhoon season will start in June or earlier, with the number of tropical cyclones affecting Hong Kong to be normal to above-normal between 5 and 8. The annual rainfall is expected to be normal to below-normal.

As the rainy season approaches, Mr Shun reminded the public about the possible impacts brought by thunderstorms, especially strong wind gusts. The Observatory has updated the pamphlet on thunderstorms to promote better preparedness by the public, logistic community, container terminal operators, and the like.

To celebrate the World Meteorological Day (http://www.wmo.int/worldmetday/), the Observatory will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (24 and 25 March).

Please visit the following web page for the full text of the Director's speech at the press briefing: http://www.weather.gov.hk/dhkovoice/speech20120320e.pdf.

  
Mr Shun (centre) briefing the media on the Observatory's latest developments
Mr Shun (centre) briefing the media on the Observatory's latest developments

Mr Shun introducing the higher resolution iPad version of 'MyObservatory'
Mr Shun introducing the higher resolution iPad version of "MyObservatory"  
 

Last revision date: <31 Dec 2012>