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Overview of meteorological support for Belt and Road Initiative 2017

Source:China Meteorological News Press11-01-2018

In 2017, meteorological support for Belt and Road Initiative has kick-started the strategic layout, marching into a conscientious and dedicated journey.

May 14, 2017 is undoubtedly a landmark date. Ms Liu Yaming, Administrator of China Meteorological Administration (CMA), and Mr. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) signed Letter of Intent between the World Meteorological Organization and the China Meteorological Administration to Promote Regional Meteorological Cooperation and Co-build the Belt and Road. Since then, this Letter of Intention, coupled with initiatives such as Nanning Initiative on China-ASEAN Cooperation in Meteorology and Urumqi Initiative in disaster prevention and reduction and addressing climate change in Central Asia, has established a comprehensive cooperative mechanism and operational framework for serving Belt and Road Initiative.

Ms Liu Yaming, and Mr. Petteri Taalas signed Letter of Intent between the World Meteorological Organization and the China Meteorological Administration to Promote Regional Meteorological Cooperation and Co-build the Belt and Road.

Meteorological support has been operating in an orderly fashion, ranging from providing technical support to jump-starting project construction combined with specific demand by neighboring countries. Over the past year, meteorological departments across the nation have embarked on constructing an integrated service system for this Initiative.

Technical support has underpinned meteorological support

In 2017, meteorological departments have fortified operational serviceability geared to global monitoring, forecasting, and service, and taken the lead in equipment export and sci-tech cooperation. 

Global monitoring: a further and more expansive view

Fengyun series meteorological satellites have benefited 42 countries and territories along Belt and Road. In 2017, meteorological satellite FY-4A has been formally delivered and FY-3D satellite was successfully lifted off, signifying that meteorological satellite fleet in China has become a global forerunner in this realm. This has become a seminal anchor for serving this Initiative.


This composite color full-disk visible image was captured at 1:50 p.m. (Beijing time) on Feb. 20, 2017.

The observation scope of Fengyun geostationary series satellites has reached neighboring regions of the Belt and Road. They serve as an instrumental tool for weather prediction, climate forecast, disaster prevention and mitigation, as well as sci-tech research. A forecaster from Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), expressed that cloud layer, sea surface temperature, and snow coverage data captured by Fengyun satellites have provided significant reference for them. Before that, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan was battered by landslide incurred by strong precipitation. Fengyun-2E captured the sign of strong precipitation in advance and released the warning in a timely manner. So far, observation station network has optimized the layout oriented toward data sharing.

The first image of FY-3D (Leizhou Peninsula of China)

Besides space-based observation, ground-based observation layout in China has also been rolled out revolving around this Initiative. In 2017, meteorological departments have upgraded observation site layout step by step, propelled data sharing, and addressed the data shortfall in parts of China, especially in upstream regions. With the joint efforts of local government, meteorological departments from China have established the first multiple-factors automatic observing station along China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Gwadar; set up forest ecological and meteorological monitoring station and glacier whole-factor automatic observing station; real-time data has been incorporated into the operational system via Beidou satellite.

The first multiple-factors automatic observing station in Gwadar

Furthermore, research work on observation equipment has been further pushed forward. Standardized provincial meteorological metrology laboratory was founded; meteorological metrology and apparatus detection laboratory and training base will soon be kicked off.   

Global forecast: come in handy at any crucial time


Satellite Cloud Image of Typhoon Khanun, 2017

On September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominique, rendering local transportation and telecommunication paralyzed, airports closed down, and overstretched material supply. Over 400 overseas Chinese or Chinese corporate personnel were stranded on this Caribbean Island State. The evacuation work calls for, first of all, the potential trend of the cyclone.

Since 2017, meteorological departments have embarked on the operational expansion geared to the national development demand. National Meteorological Center (NMC) activated storm forecast experiment in Bengal Bay and improved the operational platform amid forecasting Hurricane Irma. The forecast has provided decision making for evacuating overseas Chinese.

As a matter of fact, North Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Forecast Service has been operationalized in 2017. This initiative has become a microcosm for enhancing capacity of global forecast. In the same year, GRAPES independently developed by China has commenced to provide meteorological forecasting service across the globe. CLDAS-V2.0 has expanded its spatial coverage to the entire Asia.

Progress of GRAPES

Up to now, land surface data assimilation system has an extended coverage of the entire Asian regions. Besides, China is one of the countries boasting objective climate prediction capabilities, which has formulated global data assimilation system, monthly dynamic extended modeling system and seasonal climate prediction modeling system, assuming an instrumental role in global climate prediction information exchange.


Satellite infrared cloud imagery and fine-grid wind field overlay image

Global services: more refined and wide-ranging

Mr Yu Xinwen met with Petteri Taalas at the sixteenth session of WMO Regional Association for Asia (RA II) convened from 12-16 February, 2017.

Previously, due to outdated technology, a raft of ocean-going vessels could only rely on foreign meteorological navigation companies. In 2017, the advent of ocean-going meteorological navigation system has reversed the prior situation. Shanghai Municipal Meteorological Service teamed up with Huafeng Meteorological Media Group in building the independently developed system based on core technologies like high-resolution atmospheric and marine numerical modeling. This system has successfully provided accurate and secure navigation services for many routes like from China to Pakistan or South Africa.

Shanghai ocean-going meteorological navigation system was exhibited at the Meteorological Innovation achievement Exposition on November,2017 Photoed by Wu Peng

In the meanwhile, CMA has constantly rolled out meteorological support work for realms such as ocean, transportation, agriculture, energy, hydrology, tourism, and ecology. To promote the regional cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, CMA and Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) jointly proposed “a Pilot Project to Enhance the Capability of Meteorological Disaster Risk Reduction in Regional Association II (Asia)”?in February, 2017. Right now, the project has entered implement phase.

Equipment export: friendly reach out to the outside world

The Comoros, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, DRC, Cameroon and Sudan were finalized as the recipient countries of the meteorological aid project spearheaded by CMA.By November, 2017, aid project for The Comoros, Zimbabwe and Kenya has been accomplished.

On September, 2017, Chinese government donated meteorological equipment to Kenya. Source: Xinhuanet- Africa channel

What’s more, meteorological service for businesses has been explored and equipment export has become the conducive attempt for serving the Belt and Road Initiative. Up to now, over 100 weather radars have been applied at home and abroad, marching into markets in Romania, India, and so on. China, has been one of a few countries which are capable of thunder network observation.

During the first session of China-ASEAN Meteorological Forum, participants visited the equipment pavilions Photoed by Kong Yimin

Sci-tech cooperation: Atmosphere knows no bounds.

CMA has joined hands with sci-tech talents from Central Asian nations and the entire world, actively forging ahead atmospheric science and disaster prevention and mitigation studies. Central Asian Atmospheric Research Center and Remote Sensing Application Center have been established as a result. In 2017, scientists have scored serial strides in studies on Central Asian low vortex concept model, impact on summer precipitation in Talimu Basin by South Asia monsoon, effect exerted by warming in Indian Ocean on Central Asia precipitation. Climate reconstruction work like western Tianshan Mountain drought index, and rainfall in southeastern Kazakhstan.


Participants conducted a field trip in Changping district meteorological office, Beijing.

In 2017, under the guidance of WMO Education and Training Program, meteorological departments have hosted 19 international training courses, involving 385 international participants. On September 11, the 47th China Study Tour co-organized by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and China Meteorological Administration (CMA) kicked off in Beijing. This study tour aims at enhancing the regional meteorological sci-tech cooperation in central Asia and providing capable meteorological service for Belt and Road initiatives.In October, the third International Workshop of Meteorological Science and Technology in Central Asia was convened in WMO Nanjing Training Center.

International Training Course on the Adaptation to Climate Change 2017 was inaugurated in RTC Beijing.

The long journey ahead is arduous and it calls for perseverance and hard work. Meteorological support for Belt and Road Initiative has shape up from top design to solid progress. It is bound to be established as a new platform for international collaboration and inject new impetus to shared development along Belt and Road.(Jan.11)

Reporter: Sun Nan

Editor: Liu Shuqiao