The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) today (July 7) announced the operational launch of a Hong Kong co-ordinated World Meteorological Organization (WMO) project to provide city weather forecasts to developing countries in Asia.
The project has been developed by the HKO in association with the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). It has long been recognised that developing countries contribute to the advancement of numerical weather prediction (NWP) by providing observational data. However, they have been unable to reap the benefits of NWP because of limited technical and financial resources in operating computer models. This project aims to offer an affordable means for developing countries to access and apply NWP products to their public weather services. This will be accomplished through the generation of city forecasts by more advanced NWP centres namely HKO, JMA and KMA on their respective web sites for access by developing countries. At present, 21 WMO members in Asia are participating in the project and city-specific forecasts for some 210 cities are being provided via the Internet twice daily, covering various weather data for the next few days.
Welcoming the launch of the project, Director of Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific of WMO, Dr. Tokiyoshi Toya, commended the Observatory's efforts in facilitating communication between the product providers and the recipient members, as well as organising training for the recipient members in accessing and utilising the products. He also expressed his thanks to the three product providers for creating these useful forecasting products and highlighted the importance of regional cooperation.
Scientific Officer of JMA, Mr Masakazu Higaki, said, "As one of the meteorological centres in Asia operating an advanced global numerical weather prediction model, the JMA is glad to share its products with the participating countries to enhance their capacity in providing more accurate forecasts for the public." Mr Higaki added that the provision of training so that participating members can adequately interpret the data and develop their own forecast is also an important element of this project.
Senior Researcher of the KMA, Mr Hyun Cheol Shin, said, "Last year, the KMA operated a new numerical weather prediction system with much improved weather forecasting accuracy. We are delighted to see the participating members indicate that the products are useful. The KMA will put greater effort into advancing the project and will seek co-operation with other members in providing training and technical support as well as expanding the scope of the data provision service."
Deputy Chief of Short Range Meteorological Forecasting Division of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting in Vietnam, Mr Hoang Phuc Lam, welcomed the launch of the project. "The city-specific forecast products provide very useful objective guidance for our forecasters when predicting the weather for various cities in Vietnam," he said.
Acting Assistant Director of HKO, Dr Cheng Cho-ming, said, "We are privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate closely with different meteorological authorities in Asia and to implement this project, which contributes much to the improvement of weather services across the region." Dr Cheng also took this opportunity to introduce the latest enhancements to city-specific forecast products made by the Observatory, including the use of new generation numerical weather prediction models and the addition of forecasting for wind and temperatures at different altitudes.
In addition, Dr Cheng was glad to announce that the HKO will host a WMO training workshop from July 4 to 15 strengthening the capacities of several Southeast Asian countries in severe weather forecasting and service delivery. This forms part of the Observatory's ongoing contribution to the international meteorological community.
Figure 1: Director of Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific of WMO, Dr Tokiyoshi Toya (second from left); Acting Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr Cheng Cho-ming (second from right); Scientific Officer of Japan Meteorological Agency, Mr Masakazu Higaki (first from left); and Senior Researcher of Korea Meteorological Administration, Mr Hyun Cheol Shin (first from right) declares the launching of the project to provide city weather forecasts to developing countries in Asia.
Figure 2: Sample webpage of city weather forecast products provided by Hong Kong Observatory.
Figure 3: Sample webpage of city weather forecast products provided by Japan Meteorological Agency.
Figure 4: Sample webpage of city weather forecast products provided by Korea Meteorological Administration.