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German version of weather forecast website launched

German version of weather forecast website launched
(23 March 2009)

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) announced today (March 23) that a German-language version of the award-winning website on official city weather forecasts of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) was launched by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), the national weather service of Germany, in collaboration with HKO.

The new website ( ) makes available to the German-speaking communities all over the world the latest official weather forecasts of the world's cities issued by National Meteorological Services (NMSs). It is the German version of the World Weather Information Service (WWIS) website pioneered and operated by the Hong Kong Observatory in the English language since 2001. The WWIS website won the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award in the Environment Category in 2008.

Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Lam Chiu-ying, said technical personnel of the HKO and DWD were in close contact during the development of the German-language website. "The launch of this website reflects the close co-operation among meteorologists in working towards the goal of providing official and up-to-date weather information to a global audience. It is the result of close collaboration among WMO members, from both developed countries and developing countries, and despite the great diversity in their technical capabilities," Mr Lam said.

German Consul General in Hong Kong, Mr Frank Burbach, congratulated the HKO and DWD for jointly bringing the German-language version of the WWIS website into operation. "This website in German is an excellent example of how Hong Kong, China contributes actively, as a cosmopolitan city, to facilitate communication among people throughout the world," he said.

"German is one of the main international languages and German-speaking communities are found all over the world. I am sure that this website for weather information will be widely used by our countrymen and other German-speaking people."

The WWIS website offers authoritative and reliable weather information to all Internet users, who are often bewildered by the diversity of information presented by a wide array of service providers not related to the meteorological community.

In 2000, the WMO decided to establish an official website on world weather and tasked the Hong Kong Observatory to develop and operate this website. The World Weather Information Service (WWIS) website ( ) is the world's first and only website for official city forecasts. At the beginning, in 2001, the website contained only climatological information. By 2002, it included weather forecasts for about 400 cities. The number of city forecasts topped 1,000 in 2004 and the WWIS was declared fully operational by the WMO in 2005.

Presently, 121 WMO members supply official weather forecasts for more than 1,300 cities to the website. The website also contains climatological data for the cities, which is extremely useful for travel planning months in advance. Users can also visit the websites of various National Meteorological Services to search for further information in the respective countries by following the links given on the website. Nearly 10 million page visits to the WWIS website are registered every month on the average.

For visitors to the HKO website ( ), they may reach the German-language version of WWIS by clicking the "Global Official Forecasts" icon and then choose the "German" button there. Alternatively, visitors may go directly to the WWIS website in English ( ) and click "German" there.