Monday, April 18, 2011

Chinese weather satellites

This too was a post from a former blog. This is about the Chinese weather remote sensing center.

This picture was taken at the Chinese Meteorological Agency in Beijing in November 2005. I went there for a workshop on monitoring drought. They wanted to set up a drought monitor like we have in the US. It was a mix of talks and table-top type exercises. The food was amazing... Our hosts taught us the saying that the Chinese eat everything with four legs except the table.

This picture was a tour of their central command for managing all the weather satellites (i.e. location, speed, how all the sensors are doing). The man in black I think is the head of the Chinese Academy of Science's environmental division? If you looked to our right there was another bank of computers and then a large display on the wall. I vaguely remember that it wasn't a projection, it was a 5x15 foot LCD screen. I went back to China in 2010 and saw a few more of these wall-sized LCD monitors in meeting rooms.

One strange thing you'll notice is what they're wearing. Whenever someone was doing anything operational (e.g. making a forecast, preparing a map) they'd have on a white lab coat. Not many chemicals to protect yourself from in weather monitoring, but it definitely gave that air of scientist-as-the-modern-techno-priest, separate from the laymen.

During my visit, I found the Chinese Meteorological Agency was surprisingly innovative; it was making products that I had not heard of in the US or Australia. They also had very long records of the weather.

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