Weather agency exporting forecast knowhow to Qatar
Posted : 2013-08-04 19:30
Updated : 2013-08-04 19:30
By Kim Jae-won
Lee Il-soo KMA Administrator
The chief of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said the state weather agency will send four officials to Qatar in September to help the Middle East country develop its weather forecast capability.
KMA Administrator Lee Il-soo signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperating in weather forecasting policy with his Qatari counterpart in Doha last week.
The agreement calls for Qatar to take four Korean officials who will help the country develop its forecast and monitoring system on two- to three-year contracts.
This is the first time that KMA officials will work at a foreign weather agency.
"The agreement is significant as it will pave the way for exporting our weather forecast infrastructure and software to the country and eventually to other countries in the Middle East as well," said Lee during a recent interview.
Qatar is seeking to upgrade its infrastructure, including the weather agency, to successfully host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Lee expects Qatar to become a gateway for Korean manufacturers supporting the weather forecasting sector to make inroads into other countries in the region.
Qatar is the world's second richest country and plays a leading role in the economies of the Middle East thanks to its abundant natural resources and stable political system.
The KMA head declined to unveil the size of expected economic benefits for Korea with the deal. However, industry sources say that it will reach some $200 million from Qatar, with the value growing to about $1 billion if other Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates get on board.
"The agreement showcases the advancement of our human resources and technology in weather monitoring and forecasting," Lee said. "Korea is among the top 10 countries in forecasting technology and one of seven countries in the world which owns a satellite for monitoring."
Lee compared the officials to Korean athletes working abroad who contribute to boosting the brand power of the country.
"I hope they can be Park Ji-sung in the weather forecasting field by spreading our advanced system and techniques."
Lee, who took office in March, said that leading the weather agency is a challenging job. However, he said it is rewarding to serve people who rely on information provided by the administration.
"Our weather forecasts affect the lives and businesses of people, in particular, to those who work outside, such as fishermen, farmers and truck drivers. I feel a huge responsibility to provide accurate information to them."