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Observatory celebrates 60 years of voluntary weather observations
(26 November 2009)

The Hong Kong Observatory today (26 November) celebrated 60 years of voluntary weather observations and commended the contributions of voluntary observers.

At today's celebration ceremony, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr Lee Boon-ying, reviewed the history of Hong Kong's voluntary weather observations.

Under the Voluntary Observing Ships' Scheme of the World Meteorological Organisation, the Hong Kong Observatory, in 1949, began to recruit a fleet of locally based voluntary weather observing ships to report weather conditions at sea. Observational data is vital to weather analysis and forecasting. As weather observations are invariably sparse at sea, observations by deck officers on ships are particularly valuable. Apart from use in marine weather forecasts and warnings, weather data from ships is ingested in numerical weather prediction models, and used in various atmospheric, climatological and oceanographic studies.

Among the Observatory's voluntary observers, the group which observes rainfall also has a long history. As rainfall is uneven over various parts of Hong Kong, rainfall stations have been set up by the Observatory across the territory. They are usually located at police stations in the New Territories, reservoirs and premises of voluntary organisations. Rainfall measurements are compiled into statistics for use in drainage design, water quality control, reservoir design and operation, irrigation as well as hydrological forecasting and flood control. In the early 70s before the establishment of automatic rainfall stations, there were 120 outstations in Hong Kong operated by voluntary observers. Their contribution to Hong Kong is of particular importance.

Although many voluntary observers are very busy in their own work, they spare their valuable time to make weather observations and contribute to the well-being of society.
 

Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Dr Lee Boon-ying (middle, front row) and guests celebrate 60 years of voluntary weather observations.
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Dr Lee Boon-ying (middle, front row) and guests celebrate 60 years of voluntary weather observations.
 

Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Dr Lee Boon-ying explains voluntary weather observations on a weather map in 1949 to guests.
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Dr Lee Boon-ying explains voluntary weather observations on a weather map in 1949 to guests.

 

 

Last revision date: <21 Dec 2012>