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Meteorologists call for strengthening weather forecasting
From:ChinaDaily   |  2021-06-11 14:59

Leading Chinese meteorologists recently called for more efforts to improve the country's capability for marine meteorological services, to maintain marine security and interest of the nation.

Addressing a seminar in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Tuesday, Zhang Renhe, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said air-sea fluxes have a vital impact on weather and climate change but low observation in China has restricted meteorological forecasts, especially in marine areas.

The fluxes, or exchanges of energy and material between air and sea, are seen as an ocean climate indicator that tells how the sea affects climate and weather.

"Western countries dominate nearly all major ocean observations worldwide, except those along China's offshore areas. That will be a bottleneck on China's way to becoming a strong marine power," Zhang said at the seminar, which focused on scientific innovation in marine meteorology.

He said the country should establish its own marine meteorological observation network with self-developed technologies, including the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. "Scientific trial can be launched in key areas first and results can be put into practice," he said.

Qian Chuanhai, researcher from the National Meteorological Center, said that China's current observation spots that mainly focus on coastal and offshore areas are far from enough for marine weather forecast.

"For example, we can only rely on satellites, which are as far as tens of thousands of kilometers above the ground, to monitor typhoons that mostly occur on the sea. However, through satellite images, forecasters can only tell a typhoon's location and intensity. More exact analyses including evolution rules and its characteristics need monitoring data from sea-surface observation equipment," he said.

He added that China has richer materials and experience for land meteorological observation but those don't fit the marine forecast well. The weakness of marine observation should be urgently tackled.

Cao Xiaozhong, deputy director of the Meteorological Observation Center, said mobile observing equipment can be a solution for marine observation, including drifting buoys that go with the sea flow for monitoring, unmanned vehicles, and shipborne weather stations.

"Marine weather observation is the base for all the forecast and research. Despite higher cost and technical requirement, China needs to accelerate transforming experiment into practical results," Cao said.

The China Meteorological Administration said it has set up a marine observation network over coastal and offshore areas.

Meteorological satellites have formed a relatively complete observation system that provides services of forecasting and early warning of tropical cyclones, winds, fog and strong convection weather, the administration said.

At the seminar, the administration and the Qingdao government signed a cooperative agreement to jointly establish a marine meteorological research institute.

Zhao Haozhi, mayor of Qingdao, said the city government will take the opportunity to carry out more scientific research projects on marine meteorology. "As one of the first batch of cities that developed meteorological research, Qingdao will contribute more to building the strong marine power," he said.

Hu Qing contributed to this story.