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Observatory celebrates 130th anniversary and World Meteorological Day

23 March 2013

The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming, today (23 March) celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Observatory and World Meteorological Day with more than 100 guests, including the President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr David Grimes; the Deputy Administrator of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), Mr Shen Xiaonong; the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Mr Andrew Wong; all five retired Chinese Directors of the Observatory; and collaborators and partners.

Mr Shun, together with other officiating guests, performed a launch ceremony for a new version of the "MyWorldWeather" mobile application, which supports seven different languages, namely Chinese, English, German, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish, starting a new chapter in the World Weather Information Service (WWIS) of the WMO.

During his review of the achievements of the Observatory in the past 130 years, Mr Shun shared several stories through which one could see the ideals, culture and core values shared by Observatory colleagues, past and present. He pointed out that all of the stories mentioned have been included in a newly launched book entitled "Under the Same Sky". Mr Shun also expressed his heartfelt appreciation to all of the Observatory's partners. He said, "Without the close collaboration and partnership that we have enjoyed in the past years, the Observatory alone could not have reached its current level of development and sophistication."

The theme for World Meteorological Day this year is "Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property". Delivering his speech at the ceremony, Mr Grimes said, "With over a century of activities, the Hong Kong Observatory has matured into a world-class service. The organisation typifies that entrepreneurial spirit I felt everywhere. I note that the Observatory has contributed greatly to the growth of the WMO, including the World Weather Watch Programme in recent decades. Looking ahead, the meteorological services shall live up to the needs of the community. To meet the challenges resulting from emerging service requirements, closer partnership shall be formed among institutions and advantage of new technologies shall be better taken. No doubt, the Observatory will serve as a model of excellence in protecting lives and building a better society through science."

Mr Shen echoed Mr Grimes' point on partnership and cited the win-win co-operation and common development between the Mainland and Hong Kong as an example. He said, "The improved meteorological monitoring networks in both the Mainland and Hong Kong have laid a solid foundation for disaster preparedness and mitigation, as well as response to climate change. We will continue to pursue all-round and multi-level exchange and co-operation, jointly making an even greater contribution to China and the global meteorological community at large."

The "MyWorldWeather" mobile application, supporting the major iPhone and Android platforms, has been under active development by the Observatory on behalf of the WMO. Equipped with location-based technology to detect a user's locality, the application can automatically display the latest official weather forecasts for the city closest to the user from over 1,600 cities around the world. It can be downloaded free of charge at the following links:

A series of public activities celebrating the Observatory's 130th anniversary commenced at the end of the ceremony. The first one is the Observatory's Open Day being held this afternoon and tomorrow. Mr Shun hosted an autographing session during the Open Day and took pictures with visitors. Apart from the Observatory staff, more than 60 members of Friends of the Observatory volunteered to man the Open Day and enjoy a happy weekend with visitors.

In addition to the Open Day, the series of public activities also features the launch of the new book "Under the Same Sky", a joint exhibition and public lectures co-organised with the Hong Kong Museum of History. For details, please refer to the following websites:

Please visit the following web pages for the full-text of Mr Shun, Mr Grimes and Mr Shen's ceremony speech respectively:

Photo 1
Joining hands to kick off the ceremony are (from left) the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming; the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Mr Andrew Wong; the President of the World Meteorological Organization, Mr David Grimes; and the Deputy Administrator of the China Meteorological Administration, Mr Shen Xiaonong.

Photo 2
"MyWorldWeather" mobile app functions (from left): city forecast information, the choice of seven languages and bookmarking for favourite cities.