Construction of the Highland Atmospheric Environment Open Lab of Tibet Autonomous Region, in southwest China, has been completed and is expected to commence operations very soon.
Built at a cost of 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million), the lab will greatly enhance Tibet's meteorological observation capability, said Yang Zhigang, an official with the regional meteorological bureau in charge of the project.
The project consists of several components, including the construction of a field observation base in Ngari Prefecture, the reconstruction of a lab in Lhasa, the regional capital, the installation of Earth Observation System (EOS) satellite ground-receiving equipment, the construction of a system for computer analysis and the setting up of a meteorological observation network.
The lab project is designed to carry out observation and research on the ecological and atmospheric environment in the western part of Tibet and to forecast and monitor forest fires, droughts, snowstorms, floods and other natural disasters.
Meteorological observation in Tibet dates back to the early 1950s when the region established its first team of 40 meteorologists. By the late 1950s, Tibet had established 20 meteorological observation stations.
By the 1980s, Tibet had introduced the use of micro-computers in meteorology-related scientific research as well as the processing of meteorological materials.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2002)