Systems of China Meteorological Disaster Emergency Response* (2022)

Systems of China Meteorological Disaster Emergency Response* (1)

Chinese Studies

2013. Vol.2, No.2, 101-103

Published Online May 2013 in SciRes (

Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 101

Systems of China Meteorological Disaster Emergency Response*

Chen Zhenghong

China Meteorol ogical Administration Training Centre, Beijing, China


Received November 8th, 2012; revised January 2nd, 2013; accepted January 15th, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Chen Zhenghong. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons At-

tribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the

original work is properly cited.

China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and the local Meteorological Bureaus, have set up Emer-

gency Management Office and associated organizations for weather emergency in the Chinese inland. A

suite of relatively comprehensive system for meteorological disasters and some emergency response pro-

grams have also been implemented by CMA. To illustrate how the mechanism operates, this paper pre-

sents two cases with one involving the Olympics weather emergency services in August 2008 and the

other the low-temperature and snow disaster emergency response in Southern China in early 2008. I con-

clude that weather emergency management in China should follow the scientific emergency management

principle, as well as the prevention-oriented and emergency rescue-combined principle.

Keywords: Meteorological Disasters; Meteorological Emergency Response; Emergency Response



General Descriptions on Metrological Disasters in


China is one of countries in the world with serious natural

meteorological disasters including typhoon, torrential rain,

drought, high temperature and heat wave, sand storm, thunder

and so on. In recent years, the global climate continues to warm,

resulting in frequent occurrences of a large variety of extreme

weather events. Each year the direct economical loss resulting

from meteorological disasters is approximately 22.8 billion

USD according to the statistics in 1990-2006, which on the

average accounts for 1% - 3% of GDP. Chinese meteorological

disasters have significantly increased and resulted in many

adverse impacts on society (Figure 1). That puts forward new

and higher requirements on Chinese weather emergency work.

Emergency Management Agencies of CMA

Emergency management is a very important task and func-

tion of Chinese government. It has especially been so since

SARS in 2003. Emergency management agencies of CMA are a

part of the whole emergency management system set up in

accordance with national requirements (Information Office of

the Chinese State Council, 2009). In 2005, CMA established

the Emergency Management Office. The Bureau of Meteorol-

ogy of every province, autonomous region, and municipality in

the Chinese mainland followed by setting up corresponding

emergency management offices. And over 300 local meteoro-

logical bureaus and even county-level meteorological bureaus

also established all kinds of offices and units in support to

emergency meteorological response.

CMA has also paid attention to emergency management

mechanisms and standard processes. The function of CMA

Emergency Management Office initiates and coordinates mete-

orological emergency issues including disaster monitoring,

forecasting, warning, and assessment. The office is also in

charge of investigating meteorological disasters, collecting

relevant information, and doing statistical analysis. The provin-

cial and local meteorological bureaus emergency offices do the

same work in their areas.

Meteorological Emergency Response Systems in


Laws and institutions are the key factors for disaster mitiga-

tion. The Meteorological Law of Peoples Republic of China was

promulgated on 1 January 2000 as the basic law for Chinese

Meteorological Emergency Response Systems. And the Emer-

Figure 1.

China’s mainly meteorological disasters (from Jiao, 2007).

*Short paper.

Systems of China Meteorological Disaster Emergency Response* (2)


gency Response Law of the Peoples Republic of China came

into effect on 1 November 2007. CMA has made and revised 16

regulations, 4 national standards and over 40 industrial stan-

dards on meteorological emergency activities and other legal

documents according to the two key laws. Furthermore, the

local legislators and governments have issued over 70 bylaws

and regulations for meteorological disasters.

CMA makes it its top priority to develop meteorological

emergency response and plans. Chinese government published

National Overall Emergency Response Program for Emergent

Public Events. CMA has also issued an Emergency Response

Plan for Major Meteorological Disaster Early Warning and

Measures on Issuing Emergent Meteorological Disaster Early

Warning Signals and so on (Figure 2).

In addition, CMA organized and implemented lots of con-

tingency measures and plans for meteorological disasters in-

cluding Major Weather Disaster Warning Contingency Plan,

Significant Meteorological Disaster Information Submitting

Standard and Disposal Methods, Emergency Meteorological

Support and Services for Public Incidents (Trial Implementa-

tion), Survey and Evaluation Rule of Collection on Meteoro-

logical Disasters, Metropolises Disaster Monitoring and Weather

Forecasting Service Program, etc. Last but not least, CMA

strengthened safely measure such as China Meteorological

Administration Anti-terrorism and Plans for Handling Emer-

gency Situations.

Chinese provincial and local meteorological administrations

also have formulated emergent meteorological service measures

and plans for emergent public events including nuclear sub-

stance dispersion, leakage of hazardous chemicals, geological

disasters, and so on.

Case Studies

There are a lot of emergency cases concerning weather

emergency response in China, such as emergency severs for

typhoons, weather emergency response for Olympic torch as-

cent on Everest, etc. Here we only focus on two cases.

Emergency Meteorological Service of 2008 Olympics

Emergency Meteorological Service of 2008 Olympics refers

to the prompt response to heavy rain, hail, high winds during

the Olympic Games. For example, if hail, rain, and other emer-

gency weather events happened during the opening and closing

ceremonies, the CMA would use weather modification tech-

nology to alleviate the negative impact of those events on the

ceremonies. To ensure a smooth process of the opening and

closing ceremonies, CMA has established the Modification

Weather Operations Program for 2008 Olympic Games.

Emergency Meteorological Service of 2008 Olympics also

included emerge ncy resp onse act i ons f or po isonou s p olluti on (Wu

et al., 2009). Therefore, China Meteorological Administration

Figure 2.

Early WARNING SIGNALS of some meteorological disasters (from

website of CMA:

developed Olympic Environment Conditions Emergency Re-

sponse Plan and organized the environmental emergency re-

sponse. This is a successful case of meteorological emergency


China Southern Freezing Rain and Snow Disaster


Freezing rain and snow in southern China was the most seri-

ous emergency after the event of “SARS” in China. In January

2008, persistent freezing rain and snow disaster has struck and

severely affected most parts of southern China, including Hu-

nan, Hubei, Guizhou, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Anhui, and some other

provinces (Lin et al., 2009). At first, this was just a natural dis-

aster in the context of global climate change. However, the

heavy snow disrupted the normal operation of urban infrastruc-

ture, resulting in large-scale power outage in Guizhou, Hunan,

Jiangxi, and other places. Especially, the transportation railway

systems in Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Zhuhai were

blocked and shut down. A number of urban water supply pipe-

lines were frost crack and communications were out of work.

On January 21, 2008, the Chinese State Council’s Emer-

gency Office issued emergency information in response to this

snowstorm. However, various departments took different re-

sponse measures in their sectors. At that time, it was important

to implement integrated decision-making. The snow and ice led

to wire disruption, which in turn led to lots of trains delay.

This disaster highlighted the vulnerability of the infrastruc-

ture in China South. A snow disaster led to north-south artery

interruption and poor communication. Especially, the traffic

information dissemination became fuzzy, which made the dis-

aster worse under the traffic chaos. For example, the travelers

who stood in temporary resettlement sites should have gotten

more detailed information and quick guidelines, but many trav-

elers had to go to the station for information about the latest

situation due to a lack of broadcasting in the station square.

Such operational malfunction in emergency response compli-

cated the natural disaster, with a technological disaster, and

enlarged the negative impact on social life.

However, many government branches in south China had no

sense of crisis (Sun, 2009) because such cold weather events

usually occur in north China. Therefore, these local govern-

ments seldom considered the impacts of strong snowstorm on

local production and people’s life. For instance, the majority of

thermal power plants in China have just 10 to 12 days invento-

ries as normal coal inventory, and 5 days as the warning line. In

the United States, by contrast, coal power inventories can

maintain at least 40 days, even surviving the general severe

weather events. In this regard, China’s disaster resilience is

pretty fragile in comparison with those in foreign countries.


The legal construction of emergency meteorological disaster

in Chinese mainland must consider the general principles of

legal construction as well as the following several important


Firstly, the meteorological emergency response and legal

system construction must be based on scientific principles. We

should take full advantage of meteorological science and tech-

nology. We should focus on disaster monitoring, and forecast-

ing (Wang et al., 2007).

Copyright © 2013 SciRe s.


Systems of China Meteorological Disaster Emergency Response* (3)


Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 103

Secondly, good preventive work can significantly reduce the

losses resulted from sudden weather disasters. And it will be

helpful in disaster mitigation, emergency response, and disaster

reconstruction. The ear ly-warning system should also be largely

improved (Li et al., 2009).

Thirdly, meteorological emergency response plans can be

controlled within 500 words or so, which should be easy for

people to grasp the key rules and be familiar with the specific

operations. Meteorological emergency response plans should

define basic preparation specifications, including structural

framework, reporting procedures, style formats, and relevant

annexes. In addition, meteorological emergency response plans

should include the knowledge of meteorological disaster pre-

vention, which should go “into the enterprise, into the rural area,

into school, and into the community”.


This work has been supported by National Natural Science

Foundation of China No. 41220001 (Z. H. Chen) and Urban

Meteorological Research Foundation of Beijing No.



Jiao, M. Y. (2007). National emergency management of meteorological

disasters. Geneva: CMA Report (interior).

Lin, L. X. et al. (2009). Disaster and emergency response of the cryo-

genic freezing rain and snow weather in Guangdong in 2008. Mete-

orological Monthly, 35, 26-33.

Li, Y. et al. (2009). Emergency mobile automotive system in meteor-

ology and its application in emergency meteorology service. Infor-

matization Research, 35, 1-5.

Sun, B. (2009). Study on disaster emergency management system in

city. Journal of Natural Disasters , 18, 39-44.

Wang, B. et al. (2007). The design based on the communications sys-

tem of 3G network on the meteorological emergency commanding

vehicle. Journal of Meteorological Research and Application, 28,


Wu, Y. B., Liu, W. et al. (2009). The application of atmospheric diffu-

sion model in the emergency meteorological service. Guangdong

Meteorology, 31, 4-6.

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