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  • Centenary of marine weather forecasts in Hong Kong

  • Tuesday, 16th June 2015

The Hong Kong Observatory and the shipping community today (June 16) celebrated the centenary anniversary of wireless broadcast of marine weather forecasts in Hong Kong.

At today's celebration ceremony, the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming recalled the history of the Observatory's weather services to the mariners. The Observatory was established in 1883 to undertake three missions, namely the provision of meteorological observations (which include the issuance of tropical cyclone warnings), a time service through astronomical observations, and magnetic observations. All three missions contributed to supporting the operations of the shipping community, which was significant to the economic development of Hong Kong.

A hundred years ago, marine weather forecasts for ships were broadcast by means of radio telegraphy for the first time when the wireless telegraphy station came into operation at Cape D'Aguilar on Hong Kong Island. The marine weather forecasts, and tropical cyclone warnings once issued, were telegraphed daily by Morse code from the Observatory to the station for wireless broadcast at 1 pm to all ships in the neighbouring sea areas. The wireless broadcast of marine weather forecasts by the station was overtaken by the automated NAVTEX broadcast system under the Marine Department in 2000.

"With technology advancement, the Observatory's marine weather forecast and warning services are now disseminated through multiple channels including the Observatory's website and the mobile app 'MyObservatory'. The information are very important for the safety and efficiency of international shipping on the high seas, fishing and oil drilling activities along the coastal waters, as well as water transport and recreation in Hong Kong," Mr Shun said.

Member of the Observatory's Liaison Group for the Shipping Community, Mr Zhou Wei said, "Today's celebration shows the importance of co-operation between the Observatory and the shipping community in the past century. Accurate marine weather forecasts and warnings issued by the Observatory are essential for safe marine operation. The shipping community will continue to contribute meteorological observations taken by ships over the data-sparse oceans as it is vital for the Observatory to prepare reliable marine weather forecasts and warnings."

With the support of the shipping community, Hong Kong currently contributes over 10,000 weather observations from about 60 ships to the international meteorological community each year under the Voluntary Observing Ship Scheme of the World Meteorological Organization.

Meanwhile, the Liaison Group for the Shipping Community held its 6th meeting today to discuss the recent development in the Observatory's tropical cyclone warning services for the shipping community, meteorological support for potential Arctic shipping routes and enhancement of weather observations in the Hong Kong waters and over the South China Sea.

Marine weather forecasts and warnings issued by the Observatory can be obtained on the Observatory's website:

(www.hko.gov.hk/wservice/tsheet/pms/mariners_e.htm),

or via the Observatory's mobile app:

(www.hko.gov.hk/myobservatory_e.htm)

Photo
The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming (front row, fifth right), today (June 16) celebrated the centenary anniversary of wireless broadcast of marine weather forecasts in Hong Kong with members of the Liaison Group for Shipping Community.
Last revision date: <16 Jun 2015>