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Waglan Island - The Observatory's outpost in weather monitoring
(17 July 2007)

The Hong Kong Observatory has recently installed a visibility meter, two sets of network cameras and a fully redundant backup to strengthen the functions of the automatic weather station at Waglan Island.

Situated over the southeastern tip of Hong Kong, the Waglan Island automatic weather station is the Observatory's major outpost in weather monitoring. It provides data critical for the early alert of inclement weather associated with tropical cyclones and rainbands approaching Hong Kong from the northern part of the South China Sea.

The Observatory's Senior Scientific Officer, Mr Edwin Ginn said weather monitoring at Waglan Island began in 1952 and the Observatory's staff then made hourly weather observations during daytime. In 1964, colleagues of the Marine Department took over the task and continued the manual weather observations.

In 1989, the Observatory installed an automatic weather station there to continuously record and transmit weather data minute-by-minute back to the Observatory Headquarters in support of weather forecasting operations. The Observatory also broadcast information on wind direction, wind speed and visibility at Waglan Island through the South China Coastal Waters Weather Bulletins for fishermen operating over the coastal waters.

"In recent years special efforts were made to strengthen the functions of the automatic weather station at Waglan Island. The newly installed visibility meter automatically measures the visibility while the network cameras provide surveillance of weather conditions near Waglan Island. The equipment enhances the Observatory's capability of monitoring the weather over the southeastern part of the Hong Kong waters, and contributes positively in safeguarding the safety of the marine community and vessel traffic," Mr Ginn said.

"As Waglan Island is remote with harsh surroundings, often windy and with rough seas, it is not easy to maintain continuous operation of the meteorological instruments there. To overcome this problem, a fully redundant backup has been installed to improve the reliability of the Waglan Island automatic weather station."

The two stations operate in tandem and yet totally independent with separate weather sensors and on-site data storage. Real-time data are then relayed back to the Observatory's Headquarters via independent transmission pathways. This ensures uninterrupted provision of weather information from Waglan Island in all conditions to support weather forecasting operations, long-term climate change studies and to meet the information needs of the public.

Senior Marine Officer of the Marine Department, Mr CT Lai welcomed the Observatory's initiative in providing real-time visibility data and weather photos at Waglan Island. "The visibility data and weather photos are of vital importance to the safe navigation of ships and marine rescue operations," he said.

People can visit the Observatory's "Regional Weather" webpage at http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/ts/index.htm for weather information at Waglan Island. Real-time visibility data and weather photos from Waglan Island are available at the following webpages:

Visibility information: http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/ts/display_element_vis_e.htm

Weather photos: http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/ts/index_e_webcam.htm

People can also browse the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) website of the Observatory to access the real-time weather photos at Waglan Island: http://pda.hko.gov.hk/wxphotoe.htm



Mr Edwin Ginn, Senior Scientific Officer, explaining to the media new facilities of the Waglan Island Automatic Weather Station
Mr Edwin Ginn, Senior Scientific Officer, explaining to the media new facilities of the Waglan Island Automatic Weather Station


The newly installed visibility meter at Waglan Island
The newly installed visibility meter at Waglan Island



Last revision date: <20 Dec 2012>