The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday said it was mulling plans to work with the Philippine government to erect a radar observatory in the Philippines to enhance its ability to forecast typhoons.
Bureau Deputy Director-General Yeh Tien-chiang (葉天降) said many typhoons pass through the Philippines and the Bashi Channel (巴士海峽) before hitting Taiwan, making the area an important location for typhoon forecasts.
At present, the nation operates four radar observatories, Yeh said, adding that the one in Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Pingtung County, could record information at a distance of between 300km and 400km off the coast.
“If we could have another radar somewhere in the Bashi Channel, it would expand our observation range by between 200km and 300km,” Yeh said.
The Philippines used to operate a radar observatory on an island in the Bashi Channel, but it was destroyed by a typhoon, Yeh said.
Several factors play into the decision as to where to place an observatory, Yeh said.
A sound communications infrastructure to ensure the information can be instantly transmitted back to the bureau, a stable power supply system and technicians with ready access to the observatory are some of the requirements that must be met, Yeh said.
Batan Island, which is located north of Luzon island, appeared to be an ideal location, Yeh said.
Bureau Director-General Shin Tzay-chyn (辛在勤) said the bureau would mainly provide technical support for the project, while the National Science Council would cooperate with the Philippines government and make arrangements on which country would pay for maintenance of the radar system.
Earlier this year, Taiwan donated US$280,000 to Manila to build 15 automatic weather observation centers. The bureau said the construction and maintenance costs of the new observatory were estimated at NT$150 million (US$4.7 million).