Tags: China | weather | amateur forecasts | banned

China Says It Banned Amateur Weather Forecasts to Prevent Panic

By    |   Thursday, 30 April 2015 12:06 PM

Amateur meteorologists in China who distribute unauthorized weather forecasts could face a fine of more than $8,000 under new regulations that go into effect on May 1, the state-run Global Times reports.

The ban has been criticized by citizens who consider it to be a harmless hobby, but the government says the rules are necessary to prevent public panic that may result from false or inaccurate forecasts.

The regulations are broadly written and encompass any predictions involving "clouds, wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, humidity levels" as well as visibility.

Individuals who disseminate forecasts and alerts that "create a negative impact on society" could also face criminal charges "should casualties or property loss result from such announcements," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The regulations also did not clarify how information transmitted by social media or by using weather-related smartphone apps would be regulated.

As an example of the "negative impact" false reports could have, the Global Times reports that an erroneous claim was issued in March about a potential Category 17 super typhoon approaching East China's Fujian Province resulted in residents cancelling their travel plans for the Tomb Sweeping Day holidays.

The ban is the latest example of the extent to which Chinese authorities regulate information that is distributed to the public.

In 2012, the China Meteorological Center (CMA) changed the frequency of the weather forecasts it issued for major cities from every 12 hours to every six hours, the Global Times reported.

The CMA said the increase in the number and detail of weather forecasts was intended to provide more timely warnings of potential meteorological dangers.

"It is a trend to provide timely meteorological services to the public," Zhang Zhigang, deputy director with the forecasting and networking department at the CMA, told the Global Times.

In the months leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau engaged in what is known as "weather modification" in order to limit the chances it would rain on the opening ceremonies, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Authorities used a technique known as cloud-seeding, which is a process by which various substances are injected into clouds to trigger a rain storm.

According to the paper, China has been fiddling with the weather since the late 1950s and its weather bureau is one of the world's largest with an estimated 37,000 employees.

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Amateur meteorologists in China who distribute unauthorized weather forecasts could face a fine of more than $8,000 under new regulations that go into effect on May 1, the state-run Global Times reports.
China, weather, amateur forecasts, banned
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2015-06-30
Thursday, 30 April 2015 12:06 PM
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