Typhoon forecasts set KMA, Samsung apart
By Kim Rahn
The weather agency is considering filing a complaint with the prosecution against Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance for “illegally” forecasting typhoons this summer despite it not being registered as a weather service provider.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) claims the forecast was in violation of the Weather Law, while the insurance company claims it was not a prediction but a research report based on a private weather agency’s data.
Officials of the KMA said Tuesday it will seek to get Samsung Loss Control Center, a research center for the company, fined. According to the law, those making weather forecasts without being registered as a weather service provider are subject to a fine of up to 1 million won.
“The center disclosed its report to the media and this was virtually an act of weather prediction. We demanded it publicly explain why and how the unregistered firm did it,” an official said.
Last Wednesday, the center released the report “Weather forecast for summer 2012” to the media, predicting two to three torrential rain events between the end of July and middle of August.
The report went on to say a typhoon that will come at the end of August may have a similar impact as “Rusa” or “Maemi” powerful typhoons which wreaked havoc on the Korean Peninsula in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
It was a prediction from K Weather, a private weather service provider. Such private weather agencies were set up after the revised law allowed them to in 2009.
As to the report, the KMA claimed it is impossible to predict the impact of typhoons or the time of torrential rain in summer, the season when various factors influence weather. “We see a forecast for 15 days ahead as the maximum to guarantee accuracy,” a KMA official said.
The insurance company said it released the report as a reference to the media and didn’t mean to forecast weather.
“We were embarrassed because we didn’t intend to predict the weather but apparently have done so. We are talking with the KMA to resolve the issue smoothly,” a company official said.
He said the firm received data from K Weather to develop insurance products.
The KMA is at odds with private providers. “It is not right for a private agency, whose forecasts are not subject to government policy as the KMA’s are, to predict irresponsibly,” the KMA official said.
K Weather claimed the data was a very general prediction based on summer weather trends over the last few years.
To prevent future conflict and address their relationship, the KMA and private weather providers had a meeting Tuesday to discuss each other’s roles. There are eight private agencies currently operating.