China will pour at least 60 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion) into the modernization of meteorological research and weather forecast services in the Tibet Autonomous Region over the next five years.
The move is to help ensure its further economic growth and social progress.
The funds are double what the central government invested in the area over the 1996-2000 period, China's Ninth Five Year Plan, senior weather officials for China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Monday in Beijing.
Instead of deploying many manual weather stations as China has done in inland areas, the funding boost will help Tibet introduce more advanced technologies into its weather services.
Covering more than 1.2 million square kilometres-- one-eighth of China's total territory--and with an average elevation of over 4,000 metres, Tibet's meteorological research has far-reaching impacts.
Tibet's atmospheric circulation not only affects China's climate changes but also has a strong impact on global weather changes, particularly in East Asia downstream of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the so-called "roof of the world," according to Li Huang, CMA's deputy director.
Experts say that at present there are major gaps in meteorological observation provision in Tibet which has 39 conventional weather stations--just over half of what they say is required.
Currently, observation in some existing stations is regularly interrupted because of an inadequate electricity supply.
Under CMA's new five-year plan (2001-05), Qin Dahe, lead official of CMA, says he is confident that Tibetan meteorological services can develop with the adoption of advanced technologies for atmospheric probing, weather satellite-based remote sensing and communication systems as well as a new generation of radar systems like the Doppler radar.
In many of Tibet's weather stations above 4,000 metres and in harsh environments, some unmanned automatic weather observation and climate stations will be established to replace outdated models. The adoption of solar energy systems and wind-driven generators will help tackle the inadequate power supply.
An early-warning system for weather-related disasters will also be improved with the help of new and hi-tech equipment capable of further intensifying weather modification using methods such as cloud-seeding and hail suppression using anti-aircraft artilleries to disperse disaster-prone cloud masses.
Such operations have helped to protect more than 2,400 square kilometres of farming and stock breeding areas in Tibet, preventing them from being seriously affected, experts say.
While ensuring better weather services for the public, Qin said he hopes Tibet can make full use of its regional climate resources, particularly solar energy and wind and geothermic resources, to help boost economic development in the years ahead.
(China Daily 08/28/2001)