A government-sponsored scientific research project involved with dropsonde observations will significantly improve the accuracy of typhoon forecasts, further enhancing the effectiveness of disaster-prevention measures to be launched when typhoons strike Taiwan, according to the National Science Council. \nThe tragedy of losing lives and properties during typhoon seasons became more pronounced in the past few years, due to real-estate developments in densely populated areas. \nEspecially in September 2001, when Typhoon Nari swept the country, leaving the Taipei metropolitan area flooded for days, inaccurate weather forecasts were blamed by not only residents but also decisionmakers involved with taking emergency measures. \nTo improve the accuracy of typhoon forecasting, the council launched a three-year research project at a cost of NT$90 million last year August, focusing on "dropsonde observation" as the most important part of the typhoon-surveillance project. \n"It's worthwhile, when compared with the huge financial losses caused by natural disasters triggered by typhoons," council Vice-Chairman Liao Chun-chen (廖俊臣) said at a press conference yesterday. \nAccording to project coordinator Chun-Chieh Wu (吳俊傑), an atmospheric scientist at National Taiwan University, a G100 Astra SPX aircraft operated by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) has been equipped with the Airborne Vertical Atmosphere Profiling System, with which scientists can trace dropsondes thrown outside a typhoon at a height of 12,800m and measure the atmospheric state parameters during their descent. \nBy using Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, specifications captured by dropsonde sensors, such as air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and others, could be obtained immediately. \n"The real-time data, which we scientists can use to picture the structure of a typhoon and predict its track, can be transferred to the Central Weather Bureau from the aircraft in seconds," Wu said. \nWu said the US' experience of flying synoptic surveillance missions around typhoons suggest that the observation produces a 10 to 30 percent reduction in track forecast errors involving hurricanes. \nThe project is co-hosted by Po-Hsiung Lin (林博雄), another National Taiwan University atmospheric scientist and Yeh Tien-chiang (葉天降), director of the bureau's Weather Forecast Center. \nAccording to researchers, the best time to carry out the observation is 24 to 60 hours prior to the approach of a typhoon. The aircraft will spend five hours flying outside a typhoon to capture data by throwing 15 to 20 dropsondes. \nThe 450g disposable dropsondes, known as the RD93 GPS Dropsonde, is made by the Vaisala Group in Finland. Each one costs NT$3,000. \nThe project makes Taiwan only the second country in the world after the US working on typhoon surveillance involving dropsonde observations in this region of the northwest Pacific. \nAccording to researchers, the US Navy, which terminated a similar observation project in 1987 in Guam, will resume observations this summer focusing on a more challenging task -- capturing data by flying into the eye of the typhoon. \nWu said that combining data from Taiwan and the US Navy would reveal the real face of a typhoon, a fascinating complex fluid mechanism still puzzling scientists. \nWu said that the data from the project would be shared with nearby countries such as Japan and the Phillipines. \nWu said the project interested US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Information exchanges between Taiwan and personnel of the Hurricane Research Division of the NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory was launched last year. \nBefore the pilot study ends in July 2005 the AIDC aircraft will be used for about 80 flying hours to observe typhoons.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases,