Early warning, early action, forging the first defense line of disaster reduction
Zhuang Guotai, Administrator of China Meteorological Administration
Fostering a safe home is the shared dream of all mankind. Struggling with the nature is a common challenge jointly confronted by mankind. Disaster reduction is a perpetual subject of the sustainable development of mankind. It is also a top priority for meteorological work. March, 23, 2022 is the 62th anniversary of World Meteorological Day. The theme is Early Warning and Early Action, Hydrometeorological and Climate Information for Disaster Risk Reduction. It aims to help governments at all levels and the public to ramp up the awareness and capability to guard against meteorological disasters.
We have abided by the concept of “people first, life first”, and swiftly transformed meteorological monitoring, forecasting, and early warning information into the action of disaster risk reduction. We have focused on extreme severe weather and key impact areas, consolidated monitoring, forecasting, and early warning services, and forged the first defense line of meteorological disaster risk reduction.
Against the backdrop of global climate warming, extreme severe weather is becoming wide-ranging, intense, repetitive, and concurrent. In the recent three decades (1990-2019), 91.6% of global major natural disasters, 67.6% of death incurred by disasters, 83.7% of economic losses, and 92.4% of insurance losses are attributable to meteorology and its derived disasters. In the new development stage, giving play to the role of meteorological disaster risk reduction as the first defense line bears key significance to pushing ahead building a great modern socialist country in all respects. We should effectively prevent and smooth out all manner of risks and challenges brought along by meteorological disasters, minimize the adverse impacts and life and property losses incurred by meteorological disasters, and constantly elevate the capacity and resilience of the economy and society to withstand meteorological disasters.
Accurate forecasting is the vitality of meteorological monitoring, forecasting, and early warning. High accuracy of weather forecast lays the groundwork for disaster risk reduction and effective emergency response. Weather forecast cannot be 100 percent accurate from a scientific perspective. However, meteorological workers have always made conscientious efforts and striven to improve meteorological forecasting capacity. We have continued to accelerate meteorological scientific innovation, woven the meteorological disaster network, strengthened numerical weather prediction (NWP) technological R & D, and optimized meteorological forecasting service system, in a bid to carry out refined monitoring, accurate forecast, and good services.
Early dissemination can better give play to the role of information tree. Currently, early warning information dissemination “highway” has yielded preliminary results. There will be no blind area in terms of key disaster early warning. Severe convective weather early warning will be released 40 minutes in advance. Myriad departments share the national emergency event early warning information dissemination system and terminals, and 76 categories of early warning information can reach those in charge of responding to the emergency events within 5 to 8 minutes.
We have teamed up with multiple departments to build our defense line. We have constantly improved the corresponding meteorological disaster risk reduction system and responsibility system in accordance with the national integrated disaster risk reduction overall system. We have taken measures like detailing meteorological disaster risk reduction information dissemination, emergency response, coordinated disposal, and benefit evaluation, and provided solid support for safeguarding people’s life and property security. We have carried out open cooperation and continued to improve consultation mechanism with multiple departments in sectors like natural resources, ecological environment, transportation, hydrology, agriculture on a regular basis, jointly judging meteorological conditions and their accompanying impacts and releasing meteorological derived disaster risk early warning products.
Early warning saves people’s lives. Thanks to early warning system, people have gained a sense of security. With the continuous improvement of meteorological monitoring, forecasting and early warning capabilities. Various disaster-related losses have been reduced. We have increased our capacities to identify and reduce the risks associated with weather, gained more time to rescue people, helped national grain production to achieve bumper harvests, and supported economic production through disaster risk management. Proportion of economic losses caused by meteorological disasters in GDP has fallen year by year. The benefits of meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation have been widely recognized by the public and governments at all levels. In 2021, the public's satisfaction with meteorological services reached 92.8 points, a new high.
The task and goal of high-quality meteorological development during the "14th Five-Year Plan" period has been clarified. We will orient towards the frontline of meteorological disaster risk reduction, accelerate scientific and technological innovation, to improve disaster monitoring and forecasting capabilities and build user-friendly early warning services. Focusing on the "last mile" of early warning information dissemination, we will work hard to build an extreme weather monitoring and early warning service system by disaster type, region, sector, time range, intensity and impact, striving for new breakthroughs in gaining more time, higher spatial precision and being more targeted.
We will promote the government-society linkage mechanism with meteorological disaster early warning as the guide, and promote the forecast and early warning service.
We will strengthen urban high-impact weather monitoring and early warning services, improve the linkage mechanism for meteorological disaster prevention in high-risk areas, highly sensitive industries, and high-risk people. At the same time, we will pay much attention to capacity training of meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation for governments at all levels and urban and rural residents.
More work will be done in researches on the mechanism of extreme weather, and building an intensive, collaborative and efficient short-term forecast and early warning process, improving technology of extreme weather forecast such as tornado.
To ensure life safety, production development, we will make efforts to play our role of the first line of defense for disaster prevention and mitigation. In together with related departments, we will at the same time promote the whole society to improve the ability of meteorological disaster risk reduction.
Editor: Liu Shuqiao, Xu Nenyu