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New weather forecast could reduce damage costs
( 2004-01-10 00:20) (China Daily by Liang Chao)

China's meteorological authorities are working on new plans to deal with extreme weather emergencies such as floods, droughts, typhoons, sandstorms and climate changes.

"(The plan) is expected to include timely weather forecasting, prediction of climate changes and relevant damage assessments of weather-related disasters on the national economy," a leading meteorological official said yesterday in Beijing.

Addressing a national conference, Qin Dahe, top official at the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), was confident that "the solution can help decision-makers manage and mitigate damages caused by abnormal weather or climate changes."

This, he said is "one of CMA's schemes to be carried out this year as a key strategy."

Direct damaged caused by weather-related disasters has risen to 6 per cent of China's total annual gross domestic product, statistics show.

Over the past year, CMA has worked hard to improve forecast accuracy for rainstorms, typhoons and sandstorms.

Such catastrophes have left wrecked havoc with regional economies, experts say.

This year, the administration will focus on reducing damages by tracking any catastrophic weather phenomena, Qin promised.

In urban areas, Qin urged meteorological authorities to programme 72-hours weather forecast and broadcast them through local TV channels, offering the public more weather information.

In rural areas, weather services may help farmers increase grain output and thus ensure China's food production, restructure agriculture, and improve farm layouts in line with local climate conditions.

Meanwhile, countermeasures will also be offered for farmers to protect regional agriculture under extreme climate changes and aid needy families.

Relying on powerful computers and a digital radar network, a new comprehensive meteorological system is scheduled to perform remote measurements and remote sensing automatically and continuously in Beijing and Qingdao, two host cities of the 2008 summer Olympics.

Qin hopes such a system can greatly enhance the monitoring content and improve forecast accuracy for the first world leading sport event to be held in China.

Special weather forecast services will also benefit the nation's key construction projects, significant social events, regional economic growth as well as urbanization, traffic and oceanic development.

"To rehabilitate fragile ecosystems in some of the country's areas, particularly west China, more cross-region cloud seeding operations for rainfall will be launched as a way to alleviate scarcity of water and improve environment there," Qin said.

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