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Hong Kong Observatory leads changes for Typhoon Committee

5 February 2013

12 of its 14 Members attended the 45th Session of the Typhoon Committee in Hong Kong and completed the 4-day deliberation on February 1.

The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), Mr Shun Chi-ming, succeeded the Deputy Administrator of the China Meteorological Administration, Ms Jiao Meiyan, as the Chairperson of the Typhoon Committee and presided at the Session. Mr Shun and Ms Jiao were instrumental in driving for reform in the effective governance of the Committee in the past couple of years, with fruitful results already evident at the Hong Kong Session. The Assistant Director of the HKO, Mr Edwin Lai, was elected as the Chairperson of the Advisory Working Group of the Committee to coordinate the implementation and action plans of the projects of the four working groups of the Committee.

The Government Flying Service (GFS) was awarded the Dr Roman L Kintanar Award at the Session. This award was presented annually to institutes or organisations in recognition of their dedicated effort in mitigating the impact and risks of disasters caused by tropical cyclones. The award was presented to the GFS to recognise its commitment and outstanding work in collecting crucial meteorological data in the vicinity of tropical cyclones over the South China Sea. Considering the operational and research values of this initiative led by the HKO, the Committee will co-operate with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme to explore the feasibility of organising a purposely planned field experiment over the region in the next couple of years.

With a concentration of rapid economic and population growth in coastal areas, vulnerability to tropical cyclone related hazards such as extreme winds, torrential rain, flash flooding and storm surge had substantially increased. The Committee noted with appreciation the timely publication of "The Second Assessment Report on the Influence of Climate Change on Tropical Cyclones in the Typhoon Committee Region", and suggested the Assessment Report be forwarded to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a reference for its latest assessment work. The Assessment Report summarises the results and findings from researches conducted by Typhoon Committee experts on the long-term trends of tropical cyclone activities in the region. The Senior Scientific Officer of the HKO, Dr Lee Tsz-cheung, contributed to the Second Assessment Report as one of the authors.

For more information about the Typhoon Committee and associated activities, please visit

Figure 1
The Deputy Administrator of the China Meteorological Administration, Ms Jiao Meiyan (left), and the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), Mr Shun Chi-ming, welcoming the participants of the 45th Session of the Typhoon Committee on 28 January 2013.

Figure 2
Leading the discussion at the 45th Session of the Typhoon Committee on 29 January 2013 are (from left) the Secretary of the Typhoon Committee, Mr Olavo Rasquinho; Officer-in-Charge of Disaster Risk Reduction Section of UNESCAP, Mr Nokeo Ratanavong; the Chairman of the Typhoon Committee for 2013 and the Director of the HKO, Mr Shun Chi-ming; and the Chief of the Tropical Cyclone Programme Division of the World Meteorological Organization, Mr Koji Kuroiwa.