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Thursday, 9th April 2009

Taking the baton

As I took the baton from Mr C.Y. Lam, the expectations from all over are immediately felt.

Let's use a metaphor. Previously, as a member of the Observatory we opened a secret envelop every morning and knew where we would be heading the rest of day. Now it falls onto me to prepare these envelops and chart the Observatory's future.

True, the Director takes cues from inside and outside when preparing these 'envelops'. But when it comes to making a choice among possible paths the decision is sometimes very hard to make.

One thing is for sure, however. The decision has to be firmly based on science. This will continue to be so for the Observatory. I have the benefit of many great leaders before me.

Despite recent advances in meteorology and geophysics, we still face many challenges. A case in point is weather prediction, where we are reasonably confident in forecasting the temperatures a few days ahead, but foretelling very accurately how much rain there will be in the next couple of hours is still a struggle.

Likewise, while numerical models nowadays are quite capable of telling us a few days ahead where a tropical cyclone will generally head, difficulties remain in pinpointing when and where it will make landfall in a few hours' time. Thus operating the tropical cyclone signals to meet the expectations here in Hong Kong is still a trying experience.

To address these challenges, let me assure you that we will continue to conduct studies and apply the latest science and technology available. This covers all our work, including aviation weather and safety, earthquake/tsunami observation, radiation monitoring, and last but certainly not the least, climate change.

We will continue to reach out to the community, especially the underprivileged. We will popularize science, which I must say is very important in this knowledge-based economy.

For all these, we look forward to the support from you and from members of the public.

B.Y. Lee

Last revision date: <17 Jan 2013>