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27 May 2013
Achievements & awards
CityU scholar wins major Royal Meteorological Society Award

Yvonne Lee
An internationally renowned expert in atmospheric sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been awarded the International Journal of Climatology Award for 2012 by the Royal Meteorological Society, signifying international recognition for CityU academics.
 
Professor Johnny Chan Chung-leung, Chair Professor of Atmospheric Science and Dean of the School of Energy and Environment (SEE) at CityU, is the first Chinese scholar to earn this prestigious honour.
 
The award is recognition of Professor Chan’s substantive contributions to the understanding of the climatology of tropical cyclones in the northwest Pacific, especially the mechanisms underlying the variability and trends in the frequency and intensity at a range of time scales, and characteristics of the East Asian monsoon. It is also an acknowledgement of Professor Chan’s strong support for the journal over the past 19 years, providing and reviewing papers with insight and constructive views.
 
Professor Chan, a leading expert in typhoons and monsoons, studies global warming and its relationship with typhoon activity, as well as tropical cyclone and monsoon climate, especially in East Asia. He has collaborated with Shanghai meteorologists on a mammoth three-year project to study the variability of the tropical cyclones on the east coast of China for the past 500 years.
 
Another aspect of Professor Chan’s research is in the prediction of the number of tropical cyclones in the East Asia region every year. He has established theoretical relationships between the motions of tropical cyclones and atmospheric flow fields, notably the linear and non-linear effects of their potential vorticity, or spin, and of the latitudinal variation of the Coriolis parameter, which refers to the rotation of the earth. Applications of this theory have led to significant improvements in predicting tropical cyclone behaviour.
 
“On the one hand, these research projects satisfy my intellectual craving. On the other, they work for the benefits of societies and help local governments take necessary precautions. Prediction is helpful and necessary for industries such as agriculture, insurance, shipping, and so forth,” Professor Chan said.
 
The northwest Pacific Ocean is the most active basin for tropical cyclone activity in the world, accounting for one-third of global tropical cyclone activity. Tropical storms in this region affect mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan, among others, impacting nearly one-third of the world’s population.
 
Professor Chan’s research is therefore essential for the region. His contributions have been recognised by various professional institutions. He has been elected as Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and named Distinguished Meteorologist by the Hong Kong Observatory.
 
In addition, he is a member of the Tropical Meteorology Research Working Group of the World Meteorological Organisation and Chair of its Tropical Cyclone Panel. He is also an associate editor of three journals: the International Journal of Climatology, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters and Acta Meteorologica Sinica, and a member of the editorial board of the World Scientific Series on Earth System Science in Asia.
 
The International Journal of Climatology covers all aspects of climatology and is published by the Royal Meteorological Society, one of the world’s largest meteorological societies. Its mission is to advance the understanding of weather and climate, the science and its applications, for the benefit of professionals in the field and the general public.