A ceremony was held at the Sanshui Meteorological Bureau at Foshan, Guangdong by the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau (GMB), Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) and Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) today (12th July) to mark the inauguration of the Lightning Location Network in the Pearl River Estuary.
The Lightning Location Network monitors lightning activities over the Pearl River Estuary. Information of locations of lightning is disseminated in graphical form in various convenient ways including the Observatory's Website (http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/llis/index.htm) and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Website (http://pda.hko.gov.hk/llise.htm). The webpage is updated once every 5 minutes. Members of the public can make use of the latest lightning location information in taking the necessary precautions. A condensed version of the lightning location information is available in the hourly weather bulletin for radio and television broadcast. The information is also accessible from the Dial-a-Weather system (1878 200) which will be updated once every 15 minutes.
Mr. LAM Chiu Ying, Director of Hong Kong Observatory said, "The GMB, HKO and SMG have a long history of working together in the provision of weather services, heralding cross-border cooperation in the Pearl River Estuary. Through close consultation and cooperation, we successfully implemented this project which has great significance in disaster prevention and economic development for the region. The detection range of the Lightning Location Network covers the entire Pearl River Delta. This not only improves detection and accuracy, but also enlarges the information coverage. I am sure that the information provided by the network will further enhance public safety."
The Lightning Location Network comprises five stations. Three of them are installed in Hong Kong, at Chung Hom Kok (southern part of Hong Kong), Sha Tau Kok (northeastern part of the New Territories) and Tsim Bei Tsui (northwestern part of the New Territories). The other two are located at Sanshui in Guangdong and Taipa in Macao.
Mr. POON Hoi To, the Observatory's Senior Scientific Officer responsible for the project, said: "The Lightning Location Network's capability in providing useful data depends on the selection of locations for the sensors. The criteria for site selection were very strict. Because of the sensor's high sensitivity, there should not be electromagnetic interference and building obstructions around the site. There is also the need for appropriate communication lines at the site. It was after several rounds of site surveys that these five locations were finally chosen for the sensors."
There were still many problems to be tackled after site selection. The joy and pain of the work can be felt from the re-collection of Mr. CHAN Ka Wah, the Observatorys Senior Radar Specialist Mechanic. "It takes five hours of travel between Sanshui and Hong Kong. In the earlier part of the project, power and communication facilities were not yet fully available, as the new office of the Sanshui Meteorological Bureau was still under construction. On the day of installing the sensor, we left Hong Kong at 7 in the morning and went home at near midnight after finishing work. I am very grateful to the GMB. Without the excellent support of GMB in such aspects as communication and technology, we probably would not be able to complete the installation of the sensor at Sanshui on time."
Mr. WU Suyan of the Sanshui Meteorological Burean said, "The joint project of Lightning Location Network was given full support by the People's Government of the Sanshui District through the allocation of special funding. Despite the tight schedule and demanding task, we overcame the difficulties and strictly followed the design drawings, completing various works including the sensor base, lightning protection grounding and infrared security system. We are confident that we can maintain and ensure the normal operation of the Lightning Location Network."
Mr. Yu Yong, Director of the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, said: "Damage caused by thunderstorms in Guangdong has aroused public concern in recent years, calling for closer co-operation amongst relevant parties to tackle the issue. Over the past 20 years, the GMB, HKO and SMG have established a good foundation for cooperation. It is important that we keep up the cooperation and work towards disaster prevention and reduction in the Pearl River Estuary."
Dr. Fong Soi Kun, Director of the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, said: "Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau have for years worked closely together in meteorological cooperation and technical exchanges in many areas. The establishment of the Lightning Location Network is a good example. We hope to build on the existing cooperation with a view to better serving people in the region."
Figure 1. Press Conference covering the Inauguration Ceremony of the Pearl River Estuary Lightning Location Network Set Up Jointly by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
Figure 2. Mr. HT POON, Senior Scientific Officer of the Hong Kong Observatory, explaining the functions of the lightning detection sensor to the media.