Hong Kong Observatory

Hong Kong Observatory

Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Hong Kong Observatory
nativename_a = 香港天文台

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headquarters = Hong Kong Observatory, 134A Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
formed = 2 March, 1883 [ [http://www.hko.gov.hk/125thAnniversary/125newe.html Hong Kong hko.gov.hk] ]
preceding =
dissolved =
superseding =
jurisdiction =
employees = 287 (March 2008) [http://www.budget.gov.hk/2008/eng/pdf/head168.pdf Hong Kong government budget] ]
budget = 203.4m HKD (2008-09)
chief1_name = Mr CY Lam
chief1_position = Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
chief2_name =
chief2_position =
parent_agency =
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website = [http://www.hko.gov.hk/ www.hko.gov.hk]
footnotes =

Hong Kong Observatory (zh-c|c=香港天文台), known as the Royal Observatory (zh-c|c=皇家香港天文台) before 1997, is a department of the Hong Kong Government. The Observatory forecasts weather and issues warnings on weather-related hazards. It also monitors and makes assessments on radiation levels in Hong Kong and provides other meteorological and geophysical services to meet the needs of the public and the shipping, aviation, industrial and engineering sectors.


The Observatory was established in 1883 by the 9th Governor of Hong Kong George Bowen. Early operations included meteorological and magnetic observations, a time service based on astronomical observations and a tropical cyclone warning service.

The Hong Kong Observatory was built in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Peninsula in 1883. Observatory Road in Tsim Sha Tsui is so named based on this landmark. The Observatory is now surrounded by skyscrapers as a result of rapid urbanization. However, it remains unrelocated. As a result of high greenhouse gas emission, the reflection of sunlight off buildings and the surfaces of roads, as well as the reducing vegetation, the location suffers from the heat island effect. Consequently, average temperatures recorded by the Observatory saw a large increase from 1980 to 2005. In 2002, the Observatory opened its resource center on the 23rd Floor of the nearby Miramar Tower, where the public can buy the Hong Kong Observatory publications and access other meteorological information.

Buildings in the Observatory

1883 Building

This building, built in 1883, is a rectangular two-storey plastered brick structure; it is characterised by arched windows and long verandas. It now houses the office of the directorate and to serve as a centre of administration of the Observatory. [ [http://www.amo.gov.hk/en/monuments_24.php Hong Kong Observatory] ]

The Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters

It is next to the 1883 Building; the Centenary Building, used as The Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters, was erected in 1983 as a commemoration of the centennial service of the Observatory. [ [http://www.hko.gov.hk/abouthko/history/buildings_e.htm Hong Kong Observatory: Buildings] ]

Outreach activities and publicity

The Friends of the Observatory, an interest group set up in 1996 to help the Observatory to promote Hong Kong Observatory and its services to the public, provide science extension activities in relation to the works of the Observatory and foster communication between the Observatory and the public, now has more than 7,000 individual and family members in total. Activities organized for the Friends of the Observatory include regular science lectures and visits to Observatory’s facilities. Newsletters (named 談天說地) were also published for members once every four months. Voluntary docents from this interest group lead a "HKO Guided Tour" to let the public who applied for visit in advance to visit the headquarter of the Observatory, and learn about the history, environment and meteorological science applied by the Observatory.

The Observatory regularly organizes visits for the secondary school students. This outreach programme was extended to primary school students, the elderly and the community groups in the recent years. Talks are also organised in primary school during the winter time, when the officials are less busy in the severe climate issues and watchouts. A roving exhibition for the public was also mounted in shopping malls in 2003. To promote understanding of the services provided by the Observatory and their benefits to the community, over 50 press releases were issued and 7 media briefings were held in 2003.


ee also

*Hong Kong Time
*Climate of Hong Kong
*Hong Kong rainstorm warning signals
*Hong Kong tropical cyclone warning signals

External links

* [http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm Official website]

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