During the Observatory's Open Day last Saturday and Sunday (19 and 20 March), staff of the Hong Kong Observatory warmly received a record-breaking 17,000 visitors at the Observatory Headquarters at Tsimshatsui. In a tour lasting an hour or two, the visitors were carefully explained the various facets of work of the Observatory. "While it is important to do serious scientific work to improve our service, it is equally important to let the public understand what we are doing in layman terms. The Open Day serves exactly this purpose," said Mr Kung Wing-hang, the Scientific Officer who explained how weather forecasts were formulated.
Every year, the Observatory organizes an Open Day to celebrate the World Meteorological Day on 23 March. This year, the World Meteorological Day carries the theme of "Weather, Climate, Water and Sustainable Development". The theme aptly reminds us that extreme weather and climate are threatening humankind's quest for sustainable development. The Hong Kong Observatory aims to contribute to sustainable development by providing information on weather and climate.
Through specially designed exhibits and detailed explanation by docents, visitors got a comprehensive understanding of the major areas of work of the Observatory, in particular, weather services. "I now understand that weather forecasting is not an exact science. I think I can now make better use of the available weather information to suit my own situation," remarked Mr. Tsang after attending a weather briefing by an Observatory weather forecaster in a simulated Forecasting Office - a highlight of the Open Day. "I am impressed by the enthusiasm of the knowledgeable 'Friends of the Observatory' who took us for a short but interesting eco-tour of the mini-forest inside the Observatory," said Mrs Chu, a mother of two, who also remarked that the Open Day was a memorable experience for her children.
Figure 1. Highlight of the Open Day - Weather forecasters explaining the science behind weather forecasting
Figure 2. Observatory professional staff explaining the operation of seismometer
Figure 3. The Director sharing a moment with his fans