Dr Tam Cheuk-ming,Senior Scientific Officer,
Hong Kong Observatory

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THE World Weather Information Service (WWIS) website operated by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) for the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has won the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award 2008 in the Environment category. It is an award which some information technology (IT) people dub as the “Oscar Award” or even the “Nobel Prize” for the IT sector. So the winning projects carry with them the glamour and sparkle of having achieved the highest standards recognised internationally.


The WWIS website, http://worldweather.wmo.int, is a central portal for official weather information worldwide. It contains authoritative weather forecasts and climatological data issued by the National Meteorological Services (NMSs) of countries/territories around the world. The website enables the international public to gain easy access to official weather forecasts for cities at all corners of the globe, for activity planning from leisure travel to disaster relief operations.

The Stockholm Challenge
(http://www.stockholmchallenge.se) is an international competition held once every two years. Its objective is to promote the use of information and communications technology applications to help counteract social and economic disadvantage.

This year, the Stockholm Challenge received more than 1,400 entries from over 160 countries. HKO was notified in March that the WWIS was shortlisted as a finalist in the environment category. As the incumbent WWIS Co-ordinator, I attended the Stockholm Challenge Week in May when all finalists met for presentations and discussions. I realised very quickly that other finalists in the Environment category were all very strong contenders.


The Gala Dinner and award presentation ceremony on May 22 was a very formal occasion held in the majestic Blue Hall in Stockholm, the venue of the Nobel Banquet. When the Master of Ceremonies uttered thename of the winning project – the World Weather Information Service, I was overwhelmed with elation. The audience erupted into applause as I was escorted to the dais where the chairperson of the jury pronounced the award citation followed by the presentation. I felt like I was receiving a “Nobel Prize” on behalf of Hong Kong.

The trophy was made up of two halves of a solid glass sphere mounted onto a weighty stand. Upon returning to work, I reported the victory and passed the trophy to Lam Chiu-ying, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory and the originator of the WWIS website idea.