The Hong Kong Observatory today (July 17) celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Airport Meteorological Office at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), and marked the start of the office's second decade by launching a new airport thunderstorm and lightning alerting service in collaboration with the Airport Authority Hong Kong.
The Acting Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr CM Shun said, "The Observatory developed an Airport Thunderstorm and Lightning Alerting System (ATLAS) for detection and alerting of thunderstorms and lightning. ATLAS delivers graphical displays and alerts of lightning to enable the Airport Authority to issue Amber and Red lightning warning signals at the airport." Mr Shun, together with the General Manager, Airfield, the Airport Authority, Mr CK Ng; the Acting Assistant Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr Simon Li; and the Chairman of the Airline Operators Committee, Mr Victor Ho, officiated at today's launching ceremony.
In the ceremony, Mr Shun reviewed the major developments and achievements of the Airport Meteorological Office since the first day of operation at the airport on July 6, 1998. In respect of service delivery, a dedicated web-based weather information dissemination system was set up in-house for aviation users. The access numbers to this website soared from about 900,000 in 1998 to more than 15 million in 2007, representing a huge growth in the popularity of the weather products and services from the Airport Meteorological Office. Mr Shun also introduced several cutting-edge technological developments which had received international accolade. These included the world-first dual LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) windshear alerting system and the uplinking of windshear alerts directly to aircraft.
Based on the success in the last decade, Mr Shun introduced the Observatory's roadmap in aviation weather services for the next decade. "We will continue our effort to enhance and develop weather products and services required to support the rapid air traffic growth at Hong Kong International Airport and the nearby regions. It will contribute towards maintaining the Airport's position as a leading international and regional aviation hub," Mr Shun said.
"ATLAS is one of the most sophisticated automatic lightning alerting systems operating at airports in the world," Mr Shun said. Mr Ng said, "As HKIA always puts safety as its first priority, we are delighted to collaborate with HKO to enhance the airport thunderstorm and lightning alerting service by improving detection efficiency and shortening duration time for issuing lightning warning signals. The new system also helps us provide passengers and airport staff with a safe and pleasant environment."
Mr. C.M. Shun (left), together with Mr. C.K. Ng, introducing the developments and achievements of the Airport Meteorological Office in the past decade and the collaboration between HKO and AA in the enhancement of safety and efficiency of operations at HKIA.
Messrs Victor Ho, CM Shun, CK Ng and Simon Li (from left to right) joined hands to launch the new airport thunderstorm and lightning alerting service.
Weather Forecaster Mr. L.O. Li (3rd right), Radar Specialist Mechanic Mr. L.K. Yau (2nd right) and Weather Observer Mr. W.C. Ho (1st right) told reporters their first days of work at Chek Lap Kok and recalled the changes in the Aiport Meteorological Office in the past decade.