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Observatory celebrates 70th anniversary of aviation weather services
(18 December 2007)

The Hong Kong Observatory today (December 18) celebrated the 70th anniversary of aviation weather services.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Miss Yvonne Choi, and Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr CY Lam, officiated at a celebration cocktail reception this evening where the Observatory also introduced the extension of the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Windshear Alerting System, and the launch of a new World Meteorological Organisation website for the aviation community.

Miss Choi commended the Observatory's achievements in having a number of "world firsts" or "Asia/Pacific firsts" in aviation weather services. These included: (1) development of the world's first LIDAR Windshear Alerting System; (2) Asia/Pacific's first uplink of real-time windshear alerts to the aircraft cockpit; and (3) installation of the world's first weather buoy for airport weather alerting. The Airport Meteorological Office is also one of the first weather services in Asia/Pacific to obtain ISO 9001 certification.

"These achievements not only realised the Observatory's conviction of pursuing outstanding and high quality aviation weather services through science, they also reflected that the Observatory attached great importance to suggestions by and collaboration with the aviation community partners," Miss Choi said.

Miss Choi also expressed her deep satisfaction with the all-time-high result of the Observatory's aviation user opinion survey this year and thanked the Observatory staff for their efforts.

Mr Lam reviewed the history of the Hong Kong aviation weather services. He said that since 1937, the Observatory provided services for Kai Tak airport for about 60 years. Despite going through the trials of the Second World War, the Kai Tak Airport Meteorological Office managed to develop at a steady pace.

"In 1979, the Observatory's staff started to station at the remote Chek Lap Kok island to operate instruments and make weather observations. The data collected became a building block for the new airport studies. Over the years, the outstanding achievements and international recognition attained by the Observatory were the culmination of the teamwork of the staff," Mr Lam said.

Mr Lam paid tribute to Observatory staff and expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the aviation community partners for their ample support of the Observatory.

To display the close partnership between the Observatory and the aviation community, Miss Choi, Mr Lam and six representatives from the partners of the aviation community - the Airport Authority, airlines, Civil Aviation Department, Government Flying Service, pilots and general aviation users - lit up a rainbow to express their wish for continuous co-operation to build a better future.

In the ceremony to celebrate the 70th anniversary of aviation weather services, the Observatory also introduced two new developments in its aviation weather services. Firstly, the LIDAR Windshear Alerting System had been extended with the addition of a second LIDAR. With one LIDAR dedicated to each runway, more precise windshear alerting service to the departing and arriving aircraft at the two runways can be provided. Secondly, the Observatory was entrusted by the World Meteorological Organisation to set up a dedicated website to provide significant weather warnings and tropical cyclone forecast information for the aviation community. This website was highly appreciated by the airlines and pilots. Captain Brian Greeves of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) opined that the website could enable pilots to better observe tropical cyclone developments, contributing to more timely flight planning.


Figure 1: Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Miss Yvonne Choi, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr CY Lam, and representatives from the aviation community partners light up a rainbow at the ceremony.
Figure 1: Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Miss Yvonne Choi, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr CY Lam, and representatives from the aviation community partners light up a rainbow at the ceremony.


Figures 2: Weather Observer Mr TL Ng introduces the changes in airport weather observation over the years.  He used to be a weather observer at the temporary weather station at Chek Lap Kok in the early 80s.
Figures 2: Weather Observer Mr TL Ng introduces the changes in airport weather observation over the years. He used to be a weather observer at the temporary weather station at Chek Lap Kok in the early 80s.


Figure 3 : The temporary meteorological station at Chek Lap Kok was blown down by Typhoon Ellen in September 1983.  The duty weather observers were waiting to be air lifted to safety by an Auxiliary Air Force helicopter.
Figure 3 : The temporary meteorological station at Chek Lap Kok was blown down by Typhoon Ellen in September 1983. The duty weather observers were waiting to be air lifted to safety by an Auxiliary Air Force helicopter.


Figure 4: A schematic diagram of the dual LIDAR Windshear Alerting System.
Figure 4: A schematic diagram of the dual LIDAR Windshear Alerting System.


Figure 5: The specialised aviation weather website developed by the Observatory for World Meteorological Organisation.
Figure 5: The specialised aviation weather website developed by the Observatory for World Meteorological Organisation.



Last revision date: <20 Dec 2012>