Building a typhoon-ready Region

02-03-2018Source:China Meteorological News Press

Typhoon and China

Typhoon is a synoptic system that exerts important impacts on human activities. Asia and the Pacific are among the most typhoon-prone areas across the globe. According to statistics, in the past 3 decades, about seven typhoons made landfalls in China on average each year, rendering more than 10,000 deaths or disappearances and a direct economic loss of 1,150 billion RMB.

Tracks of Typhoons that Landed in China from 1949 to 2016

The Chinese government has consistently attached vital importance to tackling typhoon and related natural disasters. In recent years, China has been committed to the meteorological modernization, a program that covers the element of typhoon and has registered a remarkable progress. In order to keep close tabs on an evolving typhoon, China has so far launched 16 meteorological satellites that fall into the FY family. Furthermore, China boasts an integrated observation system comprising 198 weather radars, and over 2500 national-level terrestrial and marine observing stations. By continuously stepping up the typhoon research, China have steadily improved our performance in its prediction and forecasting, with the error of 24-h typhoon track forecast being reduced by about 70% in the past 30 years.

The Chinese recording of a typhoon disaster can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, that is, about 798 AD. In the mid-nineteenth century, China began to use modern instruments for meteorological observation, a period which has lasted for about 150 years.

Xujiahui Observatory, Shanghai, 1880

On 31 July 1879, a recording instrument at the Xujiahui Observatory in Shanghai successfully captured such data as wind pressure of the typhoon that passed over Shanghai. Marc Dechvrens, the then director of the Observatory, drew the structure of the typhoon, based on which he proposed the theory of vertical section whirlwind of typhoon. The general idea and main conclusions of the theory were later proven correct by satellite images and the theory on typhoon occurrence and development.

Integrated typhoon observation system

At present, China boasts an integrated observation system composed of 198 weather radars, over 2,500 national observation stations, more than 60,000 AWSs and FY-abbreviated satellites. The radar sites and island weather stations deployed across the coastal areas and the buoys, together with meteorological satellites, constitute an integrated observation system with upper-air-, ground- and space-based components, which enables a panoramic view of a roaming typhoon.

In a bid to further understand typhoon, China has organized several field observation experiments including the 1993-1994 China Abnormal Typhoon Experiment (CATEX); the 2002 China Landfalling Typhoon Experiment (CLATEX), by which breakthroughs have been made in such areas as typhoon swing tracks and structure.


Buoy in the ocean

Since 1988, China has successfully launched 16 FY satellites, nine of which are operating in orbit. FY-4A, the most advanced one, has been in operation, the data of which are open to the world and the services of which are available to this region.


Roadmap of FY satellites

For a long time, the FY satellites have provided an important support for typhoon monitoring and forecasting. Among them, the geostationary ones focus on the real-time identification of a typhoon in terms of position and intensity and the monitoring of its landing in terms of time and location and consequent effects (wind and rain). Thanks to their atmospheric observation in a 3-D way, the FY polar-orbiting satellites reveal the internal thermodynamic and cloud/rain structures of a typhoon to inform its track and intensity forecasts.

China has made great endeavor in typhoon readiness by formulating relevant rules and regulations, popularizing the typhoon knowledge to the public, and, in particular, devising a proven typhoon warning and emergency response mechanism that is characterized by ‘government leadership, concerted sector coordination and social engagement’. As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of deaths or disappearances and in the share of direct economic losses in the total GDP due to typhoons in China over the past 30 years.

In the context of global climate change, the impact of typhoons poses a new challenge to the socio-economic development in the region, in which the Typhoon Committee plays an irreplaceable and instrumental role in reducing the loss of lives and property caused by this disaster and mitigating their social, economic and environmental impacts.

China and Typhoon Committee

China is a founding Member of the Typhoon Committee. For 50 years, it has been actively involved in the activities of the Committee. In 1985, China hosted a Typhoon Committee session in Beijing for the first time. Subsequently, it hosted other three sessions in the cities of Zhuhai, Shanghai and Hangzhou. Since 2007, Macao, China has hosted the Secretariat of the Typhoon Committee. In 2019, 51th session of the Typhoon Committee will be hosted in China.


China held the session of Typhoon Committee for the first time in October, 1985

What’s more, China is an active participant in the Committee’s working groups on Meteorology, Hydrology, DRR, TRCG and Advisory. In recent years, it has launched a range of rewarding projects such as the EXOTICCA, urban flood risk management, Tropical Cyclone Research and Review (TCRR), typhoon forecast performance assessment, and disaster readiness based benefit evaluation and studies.

The Typhoon Committee of UNESCAP/WMO and the Shanghai Typhoon Institute of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) published the opening issue of the Tropical Cyclone Research and Review (TCRR)_at the 44 session of the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee.


Tropical Cyclone Research and Review (TCRR)

As the international academic journal of Typhoon Committee, the journal mainly focuses on researches and reviews on tropical cyclones including observations and forecast of tropical cyclones, basic theories, hydrology, disaster mitigation and others. The journal is a quarterly publication. With the concerted efforts of experts from many countries, this journal will further consolidate its influence and coverage.

On October 9, the Typhoon Committee held the first meeting of organizing committee to discuss the research program for offshore typhoon strength change experiment (EXOTICA) in Shanghai.

The EXOTICA, literally refers to unusual and interesting objects, is led by Shanghai Typhoon Institute of CMA and Hong Kong Observatory. It got the formal name in the 46th meeting of UNESCAP/WMO typhoon committee in 2014. As the name reveals, the EXOTICA program works to enhance the capability of predicting typhoon by use of some new detection equipment to delve into the interior structure of typhoon.

Training programs hosted by China have assumed an instrumental role in typhoon talents incubation and exchanges

WMO Regional Training Centre Nanjing was inaugurated as the training centre of Typhoon committee

China proactively leverages WMO regional training centers to conduct related international training programs, especially geared to developing countries, with their services covering all members of Typhoon Committee. In 1992, WMO Regional Training Centre Nanjing undertook international training program of tropical cyclone forecast and research. On November 26, 2012, the WMO Regional Training Centre Nanjing was inaugurated as the training centre of Typhoon committee.

Since 2007, WMO Regional Training Centre Beijing has held multiple international training programs in relation to typhoon monitoring and forecast and conducted disaster forecast and warning programs in Vietnam for four times. By 2017, approximately 60 related international programs have been stages, with over 800 trainees.

On December 14, 2011, the International workshop on tropical cyclone ensemble forecasting was opened in Nanjing. On October 10, 2016, CMA held the first training course on typhoon forecast for members of ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee in Beijing.

International Training Course on Typhoon Monitoring and Forecast

Joining hands to galvanize international cooperation and ushering in a more promising future

In 2016, the national meteorological services of China and ASEAN countries adopted the Nanning Initiative on China-ASEAN Cooperation in Meteorology. In 2017, the Letter of Intent between the China Meteorological Administration and the World Meteorological Organization to Promote Regional Meteorological Cooperation and Co-Build the Belt and Road was signed.

Group Photo of participants of China-ASEAN Meteorological Forum

WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas and Ms. Liu Yaming, Administrator of CMA signed the Letter of Intent

At present, China hosts such global or regional facilities as the World Meteorological Centre (WMC), Global Information System Centre (GISC), Regional Climate Centre (RCC), Regional Instrument Centre (RIC) and Typhoon Committee Training Centre. On the strength of these centres coupled with the meteorological instruments and equipment, technical support, fellowships, and international training courses hosted by China, China have made and will make every endeavor to contribute to the work of the Typhoon Committee, in particular, as demonstrated by the nearly 60 international training workshops on typhoon for more than 800 trainees that have already been held.

In 2004, the National Meteorological Center received the Dr. Roman L. Kintanar Award for Typhoon-Related Disaster Mitigation.

To this end, China will honor its commitment by keeping FY meteorological satellite data open to TC Members and donating the FY-4 meteorological satellite receiving system to jointly develop and apply meteorological satellite products in the region. China will further strengthen and expand its international education and training components on typhoon. (Mar.2)

Editor: Liu Shuqiao