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Old weather station in Jilin stands test of time

Updated: May 9, 2023 China Daily Print
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A weather book dating back to 1947, a worn-out barometer and a Russian hair hygrometer (humidity meter) were among a collection of climate heritage items on display in Changchun, Jilin province.

"The display invites people to learn more about the time-honored meteorological station in Changchun, its 100-plus years of history, and its contributions to society," said Shan Fuhui, director of the weather bureau of the city's Lyuyuan district, where the items were exhibited.

Changchun has a long history of meteorological observation and was one of the pioneers in northeastern China. The city's first meteorological station was founded in the district in 1908.

Despite relocations and restructuring, meteorological observation has continued to be carried out at the station. In 1987, it gained official recognition as a national standard climate station, and in 2017, it was listed among 60 of the world's century-old observation stations.

Every day at 7:15 am, a radiosonde attached to a wireless measurement device is launched via balloon from the station, collecting meteorological data from the ground up to 30,000 meters and exchanging information with stations around the world.

Sun Kemin, who has worked at the station for 31 years, remembers being pulled by a balloon during a strong wind. When she let go of the rope, it scraped the skin off her palm.

Resilience and determination are required to succeed, especially for women who face additional barriers and stereotypes, she added.

In addition to being a sounding station, the facility is one of the eight ground observation stations in China that have continued performing long-term manual observation, maintaining the tradition of manually measuring meteorological data such as air pressure, temperature and humidity for scientific research.

"Previously, we had to go outside and collect data in all types of weather," said Sui Zhengjie, who has been working as a meteorologist for 42 years and will retire in August.

Although the current equipment can measure temperatures 30 times in a minute, the principles of accuracy, comprehensiveness and strictness have been ingrained in the minds of Sui and his colleagues.

Thanks to rapid advancement, the Changchun station has improved its detection and automated capabilities.

In addition to a microwave radiometer, lightning location system and automated acid rain observation system, a BeiDou Navigation Satellite System will also be introduced to the station, Sun said.

Gu Haoquan, a 37-year-old meteorologist, said weather services are deeply intertwined with socioeconomic development, adding that disaster warnings issued in time help agricultural centers avoid unnecessary loss.

"The meteorological station has withstood the test of time, while we carry the mission of providing quality meteorological services on our shoulders," said Shan Fuhui, director of the Lyuyuan weather bureau.

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