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Hong Kong Observatory

Hong Kong Observatory

Agency overview
Formed 2 March 1883[1]
Headquarters 134A Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Employees 290 (March 2010)[2]
Annual budget 220.7m HKD (2011-12)[2]
Agency executive Mr SHUN Chi Ming, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
Website (Chinese) (English) (Chinese) (English)
Hong Kong Observatory
Chinese 香港天文台
The 1883 building
The Hong Kong Observatory Centenary Building

The Hong Kong Observatory (Chinese: 香港天文台) 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.


  • Overview 1
  • Buildings in the Observatory 2
    • 1883 Building 2.1
    • The Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters 2.2
  • Directors 3
  • Observatory Logo 4
  • Outreach activities and publicity 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Observatory was established in 1883 as the Hong Kong Observatory by Sir Governor of Hong Kong, with Dr William Doberck as the first director of the Observatory. Early operations included meteorological and magnetic observations, a time service based on astronomical observations and a tropical cyclone warning service. The Observatory was renamed Royal Observatory, Hong Kong (Chinese: 皇家香港天文台) after obtaining a Royal Charter in 1912.[1] The Observatory reverted to its original name in 1997 after the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty from the UK to China.

The Hong Kong Observatory was built in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon 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 urbanisation. 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. 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.

Hong Kong Observatory Grounds

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.[3] The building is a declared monument of Hong Kong since 1984.[4][5]

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.[6]


Over the years, the observatory has been led by:

Signs of Hong Kong Observatory in different years.
  • William Doberck,Ph.D.,1883-1907
  • Frederick George Figg,1907-1912
  • Thomas Folkes Claxton,F.R.A.S.,1912-1932
  • Charles William Jeffries,F.R.A.S.,1932-1941
  • Benjamin Davies Evans,F.R.A.S.,F.R.Met.S.,1941-1946
  • Graham Scudamore Percival Heywood,M.A.,F.R.Met.S.,1946-1956
  • Ian Edward Meni Watts,Ph.D.,F.R.Met.S.,1956-1965
  • Gordon John Bell,O.B.E.,M.A.,F.R.Met.S.,1965-1981
  • John Edgar Peacock,O.B.E.,B.Sc.(Hons.),1981-1984 - the last British holder of the position
  • Patrick Pak Sham,I.S.O.,B.Sc.(Hons.),F.R.Met.S.,1984-1995 - he was the first Chinese to serve as director as the Government began the process of promoting local staff
  • Robert Chi-kwan Lau,B.Sc.(SYD.),DIP.N.A.A.C.(SYD.),1995-1996
  • Lam Hung-kwan,Ph.D.,F.R.Met.S,1996-2003
  • Lam Chiu-ying,Hon.F.R.Met.S., C Met.,2003-2009
  • Lee Boon-ying, Ph.D., MBA, FHKMetS, MCMetS,2009-2011
  • Shun Chi-ming,F.R.Met.S,2011-

From 1885 to 1948 the HKO used different styles of the Coat of arms of the United Kingdom for their logo. In the 1949 the logo changed with the circular escutcheon with image of weather observation tools with year 1883 in the bottom and topped with a St. Edward's crown. In 1981 the HKO reverted to the old coat of arms and in 1997 introduced the current logo to remove colonial symbols after the handover.

Outreach activities and publicity

Young visitors at the Observatory
A sign with the old name before 1997

The HKO Guided Tour" to let the public who applied for visit in advance to visit the headquarters of the Observatory, and learn about the history, environment and meteorological science applied by the Observatory.

The Observatory regularly organises 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. From time to time, the Observatory also works closely with schools for a series of events, including with the Geography Society of PLK Vicwood KT Chong Sixth Form College between 2008 and 2009.

See also


  1. ^ a b "History of the Hong Kong Observatory". Hong Kong Observatory. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Head 168 — HONG KONG OBSERVATORY" (PDF). Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Hong Kong Observatory
  4. ^ "Hong Kong Observatory, Tsim Sha Tsui". Antiquities and Monuments Office. Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Annex I Listing of Declared Monuments". Environmental Protection Department. Government of Hong Kong. 1 January 1999. Archived from the original on 28 October 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Hong Kong Observatory: Buildings

External links

  • Official website
  • Other site
  • World Weather
  • Weather Around The World by others

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