The Sun, the Earth and the Weather
Super Typhoon Mangkhut skirted pass Hong Kong closely in 2018 and brought very severe weather to us. The Hong Kong Observatory issued the Hurricane Signal No. 10 on 16 September. The scenes of roaring high winds and rough seas smashing the shoreline were unforgettable to many of us. Mangkhut generated high winds and record breaking storm surge causing widespread damages to Hong Kong. The scale of damages was amongst the most devastating storms hitting Hong Kong in recent decades. The maximum storm surge recorded at Victoria Harbour and Tolo Harbour even broke the records of Wanda and Hope. Fortunately, the passage of Mangkhut did not coincide with the astronomical high tide and the tide level was also not at the highest point when Mangkhut was closest to Hong Kong. Otherwise, the devastation would be even worst. As such, we must not take it for granted that we could always escape from the worst disaster every time. Looking back in time, calamitous typhoons similar to Wanda and Mangkhut had indeed occurred several times over the past century or so. Once again, the passage of Mangkhut has reminded us serious typhoon-related hazards could happen in Hong Kong. As a result of global warming and rising sea level, threats from devastating typhoon and severe storm surge will increase. We should learn the lessons and stay vigilant. The Sun, the Earth and the Weather the theme for World Meteorological Day 2019 serves as a timely reminder of the importance for Hong Kong to take proactive steps in facing the extreme weather now occurring over the globe and the challenges from climate change.
Promoting the correct understanding and public engagement are the important parts in combating climate change and extreme weather. To enhance public awareness of weather and climate change, the Observatory encouraged the students, volunteers and general public to take and share weather photos and videos through the Community Weather Information Network, Community Weather Observing Scheme and various activities in the past years. The Cloud-sourcing: In Touch with Weather from Land, Sea and Air photo and video collection campaign launched in 2018 won overwhelming response from the public. Many stunning weather photos and videos were collected and exhibited at the Hong Kong International Airport for four months, making the event a successful example of public engagement. Photos included in this calendar are not only selected from the winning entries of the campaign, but also from the 2nd Sky of Silver Age photo competition organized jointly with the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association. To echo the theme for the 2019 World Meteorological Day, beautiful images of the sun, the earth and various types of weather are included in the calendar. The Observatory will keep up the effort in encouraging the general public to take and share weather photos and videos through social media platforms. Together with the collection of meteorological data down to district scale or street level using the Community Weather Information Network and microclimate stations, we hope to move towards a smart city so as to make Hong Kong more resilient to climate change and extreme weather.
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory