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Soaring high - the Observatory introduces weather indices for aviation sports
( 13 December 2003)

The Hong Kong Observatory launched a new webpage named "Weather Information for Aviation Sports" today (December 13). It is developed to meet the public's demand for weather information related to aviation sports activities, such as paragliding, hot air ballooning and radio-controlled gliding, which have become increasingly popular in Hong Kong in recent years.

This webpage provides two weather indices, namely the "Thermal Index" and the "Soaring Index", to let the glider pilots estimate whether there is adequate lift due to upward air currents for soaring activities. The Thermal Index is calculated based on the temperature difference between an air parcel lifted from the surface and its surroundings. It indicates the soaring conditions for heights up to 5 000 feet (1 524 metres). The Soaring Index, on the other hand, is a measure of the lift based on weather information between 5 000 feet (1 524 metres) and 20 000 feet (6 096 metres). These indices are updated using the upper-air observations made twice daily at the King's Park Meteorological Station.

In order to introduce the new service to those who would like to participate in aviation sports activities, the Hong Kong Observatory and the Hong Kong Meteorological Society jointly presented a series of popular science lectures on "Weather and Recreational Aviation Sports" today (13 December 2003). In the lectures, representatives from the Hong Kong Radio Control Soaring Society, the Hong Kong Paragliding Association and the Hong Kong Observatory have introduced to the participants the basic principles and skills of radio-controlled gliding and paragliding and also the weather conditions that would help the glider pilots take off and stay longer in the sky.

Aviation sports enthusiasts welcome the Observatory's new initiative. A paraglider pilot said: "I like the new web page developed by the Hong Kong Observatory. This is the first time I have seen a soaring or thermal index for Hong Kong."

The addresses of the "Weather Information for Aviation Sports" webpage:

Mr. B.L. Choy, Scientific Officer of the Hong Kong Observatory, introduced the
Weather Information for Aviation Sports webpage to the participants of the popular science lecture.

Last revision date: <20 Dec 2012>