|The Hong Kong Observatory announces today (9 December 2002) that official weather forecasts for cities around the world are now provided in the "World Weather Information Service" web site, developed by the Hong Kong Observatory under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations. At the same time, the new version of the Hong Kong Observatory's "World Weather Information" web page is also rolled out.
"World Weather Information Service" is the first international Internet web site that serves as an authoritative source of official weather forecasts for cities around the world. The official weather information in the web site is provided by the respective National Meteorological Services. These meteorological authorities are responsible for operating the official world-wide weather observing network regulated by the WMO. They are the ones who have first-hand weather information from the front line. Therefore, they are the most authoritative source of weather forecasts in their regions of responsibility.
In 2000, the WMO conceived the idea of establishing an authoritative web site of official weather forecasts. The Hong Kong Observatory was tasked by the WMO to design and host this specialized web site, in view of its expertise in both public weather services and web site management.
At the ceremony to launch the official forecasts in the web site, Mr C Y Lam, Acting Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, said, "The first phase started on 8 December last year, providing mainly climatological information for cities. In the past 12 months, we concentrated on system development and active liaison with other countries. With the kind co-operation of WMO Members, city forecasts around the world have been added to the web site in a step by step manner." To date, weather forecasts for 680 cities from 69 countries and territories are delivered in the web site. Furthermore, the web site also has climatological information of 826 cities from 150 countries and territories.
At the same ceremony, Mr Ronnie Yuen, Chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said "This web site is not only useful to the outbound travelling public but also a very helpful tool for the travel agencies. Having knowledge in the overseas weather situation, travel agencies can provide more comprehensive services to the travellers."
The support and active participation of WMO Members are the keys to the successful implementation of the web site on worldwide official city weather forecasts. Mr Lam explains, "The technological capabilities vary widely among countries. Therefore, a highly flexible technical system has been adopted to allow all countries to communicate weather information to us in multiple means, to suit their individual circumstances. We are particularly glad that our efforts have enabled Developing Countries and even some Least Developed Countries to join the project, making their official weather forecasts widely known to the international community for the first time."
The new version of the Hong Kong Observatory's "World Weather Information" web page provides weather forecasts for 405 cities and climatological information for 2225 locations worldwide. This information is available in English and in both traditional and simplified Chinese. Forecasts in this web page are based on the official weather information provided by national meteorological authorities. Apart from text, the information is also presented in simple graphic for easy appreciation. It is hoped that this web page would help the public know about the destinations' weather as they draw up their plans so that they would bring along appropriate clothes and gears for their trips.
Members of the public and the media who are interested in this official worldwide weather information are welcome to visit the following web sites at
"World Weather Information Service" web site:
"World Weather Information" web page of the Hong Kong Observatory's web site:
http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/worldwx/index_c.htm (Traditional Chinese version)
http://gb.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/worldwx/index_c.htm (Simplified Chinese version)
http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/worldwx/index.htm (English version)
At the same time, a press release has been issued by the World Meteorological Organization regarding the provision of official weather forecasts in the "World Weather Information Service" web site. For details, please visit the following web page:http://www.wmo.ch/web/Press/Press683.doc
For further information, please contact Mr W M Ma, Senior Scientific Officer of the Hong Kong Observatory (tel: 2926 8355, fax: 2721 5034, email: email@example.com) or the World Meteorological Organization:
Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele
Chief, Information and Public Affairs
World Meteorological Organization
7, bis, avenue de la Paix
CH 1211 Geneva 2
Tel: +41 (0) 22 730 8314/5
Fax: +41 (0) 22 730 8027