CHINA / National

Forecasters begin 2008 Olympic practice
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-10 05:44

Weather forecasting services being introduced for the Olympics are set to benefit the nation long after the Games.

Speaking after the launch of a series of practice drills for Olympic weather services at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau yesterday, Director Qin Dahe of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said Games services would be likely to continue after the event.

"Almost all the meteorological services for the Olympic Games could be used for daily weather services after the Games," said Qin.

"Serving the Olympic Games is a good opportunity for us to show the level of China's meteorological services, as well as a chance for us to enhance our forecasting techniques.

"I hope meteorological services in China will be improved a lot by the Olympic Games."

In order to prepare themselves for accurate and timely forecasting during the Games, forecasters launched the first round of practice drills on Saturday.

The first drill continues until Wednesday.

The drills include a simulation of the entire process forecasters will go through during the Olympic Games, as well as emergency plan practices and the safeguard plan for the torch relay.

"Olympic weather services will include regular weather forecasting, including the temperature, rain and visibility, but we are also developing new weather service products," said Wang Bangzhong, deputy director of the Forecasting Services and Disaster Mitigation Department of the CMA.

"We will explore new products to better meet the needs of foreign tourists visiting Beijing during the Games."

On the first day of drills, forecasters received briefings on weather conditions around Beijing, while briefings from Qingdao, where sailing events will be held, were also received.

At the same time, an emergency role-play was launched, on the assumption that a poisonous pollutant was leaked at Wukesong Sports Centre, one of the main competition venues.

"Thanks to six months' preparation we had a successful drill, which has helped solve most of our forecasting problems," said Qin.

"However, we still have to work hard on weather services for some events, like sailing and other aquatic events, which depend more on the weather."

According to the CMA, weather conditions during the Beijing Olympics, which open on August 8, 2008, are likely to be complex and changeable.

Rain which threatens to disrupt some events is expected on a limited number of days.

"Our forecasting services are cutting edge projects," said Qin. "We will try to iron out all problems and make sure proper countermeasures can be taken if there is an emergency."

(China Daily 07/10/2006 page2)