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Explore extending weather forecast 10-30 days ahead
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The current working priority for China's meteorological firms involves exploring an extended weather forecast system that would operate 10 to 30 days in advance, claimed the Director of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) Zheng Guoguang on Thursday in Beijing at a seminar on the snow and frost disasters that plagued south China for one month beginning in mid-January, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Friday.

Experts from the CMA, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, the State Grid Cooperation of China and the Ministry of Communications attended the seminar.

According to Zheng, accurate short-term, or three to five days ahead, weather forecasts can be basically accomplished at present, but establishing a long-term forecast system targeting things like the batch of continuous extreme weather China recently experienced is urgently needed.

At Thursday's seminar Prof. Yang Xiuqun from Nanjing University presented a group of overseas statistics demonstrating the possibility of relatively precise weather forecasts made at least seven days in advance.

Measures are needed to prevent future communication shutdowns caused by freezing rain. The Ministry of Communications unveiled at the seminar a plan to cooperate with the CMA to set up ice thickness monitoring stations on the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, one prime north-south communication artery of the country.

In addition, meteorological and power grid enterprises were advised to kick off special research on the anti-wind and frost capacity of power transmitting wires based on ice observation data of different areas. This will provide a sound basis for setting wires' ice carrying weight in the future.

Disasters caused by prolonged low temperatures, icy rain and heavy snow in the southern part of China in the past month have killed 107 people and left eight others missing as of Feb. 12, Civil Affairs Minister Li Xueju said last week.

The country's direct economic losses were estimated at 111.1 billion yuan (US$15.4 billion), Li said.

( by Zhang Tingting February 22, 2008)

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