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Home > Opportunities > Placement Programme at the HKO
Student Exchange



Every year we send out a few qualified students to the Hong Kong Observatory for a fascinating internship opportunity to not only embark on weather and climate research, but also allow the students to experience first-hand the nature and routines of meteorological services. Both one-year and summer placements are available.

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2023:

Justin CHAN

It is grateful to have a fruitful year in the Hong Kong Observatory for internship. Throughout this year, I have gained precious experience in research and learnt the operations and working routines of the HKO.

The project for my internship is to assess how people in Hong Kong are affected by heat-related health impacts by using various kinds of datasets from different departments and organizations. This aims to provide a risk-based foundation for setting up the second level of Hot Weather Services and for future study on heatwave. Through this project, I have learnt the physiology of human to adapt to hot weather, and how Hong Kong is affected by hot weather. As the analysis is carried out using statistical models, my programming skills are polished too.

During the internship, I have learnt a lot from my supervisors, especially about presentation skills and programming. The staff in the HKO are nice and supportive, and they provided brilliant ideas for the project. Also, as the pandemic is over, I can join the activities organized by the HKO such as visits to the automatic weather stations and the HKO Christmas Party. All in all, I really had an enjoyable time at this internship.


photo: Justin CHAN

Thomas HO

I was grateful to be one of the interns at the HKO. I have learnt a lot from this one-year placement programme.

My project was to train some AI models to enhance classifications of unique features in photos. One of the critical uses of the project was to extend the current usage of flooding monitoring stations, including but not limited to Tai O and Sai Kung which are hot spots for storm surges. An alert message will be displayed if the model detects the water level reaching certain thresholds.

From this placement, not only have I learnt relevant programming skills, such as Python and Markdown, and fundamental knowledge and applications about AI models, I have also gained a lot of insights from the internal reports and models, such as understanding the components and their implication of Numerical Weather Model and the conditions of issuing warning signals. I also further understood the purposes of different sub-departments in the HKO and their instruments through various internal visits.

Aside from understanding more about programming and weather, I joined some activities organized by the HKO and had an unforgettable experience with my colleagues and other interns. I am thankful to them for helping me address different obstacles that I have encountered. At the same time, I learnt more about myself and gained further insights on interpersonal relationships.

If you would like to gain some job experience during your university years, I believe that this HKO internship programme would be one of the best choices.


photo: Thomas HO

Hayden LAW

During my time as a student intern at the HKO, I had the privilege of working in the Forecasting branch, where I gained first-hand experience in the daily operations of the HKO weather forecast services.

One of the key projects assigned to me was the development of an impact-based risk alert system for regional heavy rain and flooding. I evaluated its performance and worked on the applications of this system. The purpose of this system was to issue alerts to other government departments, enabling them to assess the risk of heavy rain and flooding in various regions and enhance their public services. As there were multiple instances of extreme heavy rain this year, there was high demand for smaller-scale risk alerts. Therefore, I also developed district-based risk alerts to scale down the risk alert from large regions into much smaller districts. Additionally, I evaluated the performance of the district-based risk alert. Throughout the project, I utilized multiple programming languages to fulfil tasks related to both frontend and backend development.

This valuable working experience not only allowed me to apply and refine my programming and data analysis skills but also provided me with the opportunity to broaden my horizons. I had the privilege of participating in and delivering presentations at the HKO ENMAF and HKO Technical Forum and engaging in meetings with representatives from other governmental departments. I have received consistent support throughout my internship. I would also like to express my gratitude to both the HKO and the University for providing me with such an unforgettable experience.


photo: Hayden LAW

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2022:

CHAN Ho Yuen

I am grateful for the opportunity to work as a one-year intern at the Hong Kong Observatory. This experience allowed me to apply my knowledge, such as bulk air-sea fluxes and python and MATLAB programming to analyze and tackle problems.

My task is to enhance the performance of an operational marine forecasting system. I integrated an atmospheric model, namely the Weather Research & Forecasting Model (WRF), into the existing system to investigate the impacts of storms on coastal systems. To improve tidal predictions, I also developed a high-resolution local tidal model by OSU Tidal Inversion Software (OTIS). My supervisor Dickson Lau and my other colleagues were helpful and friendly. Through their ideas, experience, and insight, I successfully finished my project smoothly.

I am delighted to participate in several field trips. For example, I visited the Airport Meteorological Office and the Three Runway System. This experience is indeed an eye-opener for me. Thank you, Gabriel Fan (who was our programme alumni and now working at the HKO), for organizing. Overall, my year at the HKO was memorable and fruitful and allowed me to be more well-equipped for my future career.

我的工作是提高一個海洋預報系統的性能。我將一個大氣模型--天氣研究與預報模型(WRF)整合到現有的系統中,以研究颱風對沿岸地區的影響。我還使用OTIS開發了一個高分辨率的本地潮汐模型以改善潮汐預測。我的導師 - 劉廸森總學術主任和其他同事都十分友好。通過他們的悉心的指導,我順利地完成了我的項目。
我也很高興參加了幾次實地考察。例如,我參觀了機場氣象所和三跑道系統,這一經歷確實讓我大開眼界。每一次旅行飛機升降時,我也會回想這次經歷。在此感謝范文熙科學主任組織這次考察活動。總體而言 ,在香港天文台的這一年是難忘的,它讓我為我未來的職業生涯做好了充分的準備。 

photo: CHAN Ho Yuen

Carmen CHENG

If you are interested in Atmospheric Science, the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) may be your dream workplace. I was truly grateful for this one-year internship placement as it gave me valuable experiences.

My project was about predicting the phase development of convective cells in satellite nowcasting. Hot weather in summer is favourable for convection. Rapidly developing convection highly affects the aviation industry. Therefore, the HKO is tasked with providing precise aviation weather forecast to ensure the safety of each aviation service unit. During my year of numerous attempts at my project, I was also invited twice to share my results in the HKO internal forum. Receiving suggestions from the senior officers, I finally built up a nowcast model with relatively high accuracy which could serve the forecasters in the future.

It was sometimes frustrating having to repeat some experiments occasionally. However, thanks to the guidance from my supervisor, assistance from my colleagues, and sharing from other interns, I improved a lot in programming and machine learning. In addition, it was my pleasure to visit the Airport Meteorological Office located at the Air Traffic Control Tower. It allowed me to understand more about aviation meteorological services. All memories were tremendously precious, motivating me to continue my meteorological studies.


photo: Carmen CHENG

Victor LAM

It has been a great honour being a one-year intern in HKO in 2022. Despite taking a pause on my university campus life, what I have learnt and experienced this year at the HKO are far beyond words. My internship project was on the enhancement of risk-based storm surge forecast. I was able to access data from the ECMWF directly and calculate the probability of storm surge exceedance in tide stations. Plotting graphs such as risk matrix and maximum tide distribution was also one of the major tasks in product enhancement. Not only did we take part in our own project, we also had the opportunities to spend time with the HKO staff in activities such as participating in the Gamma-go workshop and visiting the airport control tower. The friendly HKO staff have also helped me a lot with my programming. Many thanks to them for always being helpful during my internship. These experiences have definitely broadened my horizons.

在過去2022年的天文台實習生涯,我為校園學習生活畫上一個休止符,卻開展了多姿多彩的新一頁。這一年,我主要負責優化現行的風暴潮預報系統。在課堂學習上,我們頂多能了解到風暴潮的原理和資訊。實習過程中,我們能夠掌握到第一身的風暴潮資料,製作相對應的概率圖表,為各單位評估及預警風暴潮的風險。除了參與自身的研究項目,我們還有機會參與其他與天文台相關的活動,例如參觀機場控制塔、參與gamma-go工作坊、上天文台總部天台觀看月食等等,皆讓我們獲益良多,收穫滿滿。 常聽說的天文台工作薪高糧厚固然不假,但在這裡工作一年後感覺到的卻是濃厚的人情味。每逢遇到電腦編程的問題時,同事們總會孜孜不倦地為我指導,無論工作內外都能與職員們打成一片,樂也融融。

photo: Victor LAM

Paco LAM

I was grateful to be a one-year intern at the Hong Kong Observatory. I polished my coding skills and also learnt more about the structure and daily duties of the Observatory.

My project was to identify potential high-impact weather events, such as severe gusts and thunderstorms, from radar images. Since this was a brand-new internship project, there wasn’t much previous works or results from past interns for me to build up on. Therefore, I had greater degree of freedom on my research which helped me come up with some unique ideas. Whenever I struggled, I have learnt to take a step back and to look at the bigger picture. Vert often, this would allow me to find a new approach to the problem.

Thank you again for the instructions and suggestions from my mentors and colleagues at the HKO. Their guidance helped keep my product development aligned with the need of the operational forecasters. In addition, they also provided valuable insights for my career. All in all, I had a fruitful experience at the HKO this year.


photo: Paco LAM

Peter LAU

Working at the HKO as an intern has been a fantastic experience for me. Being responsible for researching and developing a deep learning precipitation nowcasting model, I was given a lot of freedom and time to experiment with all sorts of unique ideas, allowing me to further develop my passion in computer programming and AI research. During the placement, I was able to work with the talented and experienced individuals not only from the HKO, but also those from other top universities in Hong Kong, which opened up new opportunities for my future studies and career. Moreover, I had the rare opportunity to visit the HKO Airport Meteorological Office at the Hong Kong International Airport and took a glimpse into the day-to-day operations in aviation meteorological services, which was a truly eye-opening experience. All in all, I was very grateful for my one-year internship at the HKO.


photo: Peter LAU

Filson LEUNG

It was my honour to work at the HKO as a student intern. Working in the Forecasting branch, I experienced the daily operations of the HKO weather forecast services. As an enthusiast in meteorology, I felt really excited.

My project was to develop a product for an impact-based risk alert for regional heavy rain and flooding, and to also evaluate its performance. The alert would be issued to other government departments to help assess the risk of heavy rain and flooding in different regions, to further facilitate their public services. I underwent numerous case studies and systematic data analysis, to enhance the alert effectiveness. I also used a few programming languages to fulfil the tasks of webpage design and backend development.

This working experience improved my programming and data analysis skills and put my knowledge into practice. It also broadened my horizon as I was able to participate and present at the HKO Technical Forum, as well as at meetings with representatives from other governmental departments. I would like to give thanks to my supervisor and colleagues at the HKO for their guidance and help. I was grateful to both the HKO and the University for providing me with this unforgettable experience.


photo: Filson LEUNG


I felt grateful to be an intern for a year at the HKO. I gained precious research experience and learnt more about the operations of the HKO, providing a solid foundation for my career path.

During this year of internship, I was tasked with improving the Very Hot Weather Warning. The extremely high temperatures in July 2022 broke the records again and became the hottest month in history, which made the present Very Hot Weather Warning seemingly insufficient at warning the public about hot weather. Therefore, my project was to set a second criteria for the warning. By making use of data from different government departments and organizations, such as the number of calls from the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association and the number of heatstroke cases reported by the Fire Service Department, and together with my programming skills, I searched for the most suitable warning threshold. While a definite consensus was not reached, I was able to learn a lot from working with my supervisor, in terms of data analysis and figures visualization. All in all, the people at the HKO were very nice and often provided me with useful suggestions. My programming skills have also improved greatly. This has been a very fruitful and beneficial year for me.


photo: Ivan WONG


I was very glad that the HKO has offered me the opportunity to work with their experienced colleagues. My project was about the “Gamma-Go” radiation measurement programme, with the aim to educate secondary school students about radiation and the safety measures when dealing with nuclear accidents.

It was very different from the projects of other interns as mine involved little programming, but instead more soft skills such as effective communication and time management. It was occasionally challenging for me when I first started. Fortunately, my colleagues helped me solve some of my problems and provided me with useful information and directions, and I was able to finish the tasks and to learn from some of my mistakes too.

It was also very memorable to cooperate and study with the other interns. We shared ideas to tackle the difficulties we faced in our projects. We had a lot of meaningful communication, and I also learned a lot from them such as how to improve my presentation skills.

In addition, the internship provided me with field trips that increased my understanding of the daily operations at the HKO. It was fascinating to see in person how the tools and equipment, together with a wide range of computer software, operate together. Finally, I would like to give special thanks to the HKO Scientific Officer Gabriel, who often helped with the interns and also organized an educational site visit for us to the airport meteorological office.




photo: Ken WONG

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2021:


I am delighted to work as an intern in 2021 at the Observatory. My main duty was to work on the development of urban weather stations. Collaborating with friendly HKO mentor and colleagues, I was able to apply my knowledge of meteorology, data analysis and computer programming, acquire new skills like 3D printing and electronic engineering, and enhance my understanding on weather observation and meteorological instruments. Apart from the main duty, I have also learnt more about the Observatory’s work through involvement in various education outreach activities, the production of Cool Met Stuff, and visits to the operational automatic weather stations. Overall speaking, the year-long journey in the Observatory exposed me to a whole new world and the experience was fruitful.


photo: Ron CHANG

Martin CHUI

I am very grateful for the chance to get involved in the Hong Kong Observatory during the one-year placement internship such that I can know more about its operation and have a deeper understanding of Earth Science. Whenever there are typhoons hitting Hong Kong, the very first thing the public is concerned about is the wind power of the typhoons instead of the potential destruction due to the storm surges. Throughout the placement, my duty mainly includes assisting the development of the forecast and risk assessment system for the storm surge. As the main purpose of this placement is to automate the overall system, the knowledge used differs largely from my undergraduate degree curriculum, which benefited me a lot. Besides, since numerous typhoons occurred in autumn and winter last year, it provided me many opportunities to test the system and the process is really unforgettable.

I am also very grateful to my mentor and colleagues at the Observatory for their guidance and help such that I can complete this placement smoothly. They also provided me with different opportunities to understand Hong Kong Observatory from different perspectives, for instance, visiting the radar and seismic stations other than those at the headquarter, which then allowed me to understand the duties for different positions. Overall, I am very thankful to Hong Kong Observatory for such a fruitful placement experience which strengthened my passion and understanding towards the Earth Sciences.



photo: Martin CHUI

Alex HUI

Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in meteorology and curious about the industry of weather forecasting. I am therefore grateful and honoured to be able to spend a year at the Hong Kong Observatory as a student intern.

My project at the Observatory focused on the development of an impact-based and risk-based heavy rain alert system. Conventional weather hazard warnings often depend on specific objective parameters, which may not precisely reflect the impacts of the hazard. Take heavy rain as an example, existing rainstorm warning systems across the world are generally based on sets of fixed rainfall thresholds rather than the potential impacts of the rainstorm, such as flooding and landslides, and the consequent traffic congestion and even casualties, leaving a gap between the authorities and the public in terms of disaster preparedness. Hence, during my internship, my role was to develop an advanced alert system that could better communicate the risks of heavy rainfall in various regions of Hong Kong, taking into account their exposure and vulnerability to flooding.

Thanks to the guidance of my supervisor, Dr Tam, I have not only broadened my horizons in atmospheric science, but also enhanced my programming and data analysis skills. I have also been privileged to participate in the Observatory's Technical Forum and present my research findings to other colleagues. As an Earth System Science student and a meteorological enthusiast, I am deeply grateful to the Observatory and the University for giving me this invaluable and unforgettable internship opportunity.




photo: Alex HUI

Cliff LAU

Working at the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) is one of the greatest achievements ever in my life. I am glad that I could have such a valuable opportunity to work there for 1 year as a student intern. Experiencing routine operations and working environments in the HKO widened my horizon. The HKO provided me with lots of resources and guidance for me to apply knowledge and practical skills I learnt in class, such as atmospheric science and using computer programming to solve problems.

Every student intern at the HKO is assigned a research project. I chose to become a student in the aviation branch since aviation has always been my field of interest. My research project mainly focused on developments of aviation weather forecast and evaluations of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. NWP is an important element in modern weather forecast. It uses computer modelling to simulate our complicated atmosphere. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is one of the most prestigious organisations in the world developing weather forecast models. The HKO provided me actual model data for research. I could have hands-on experiences extracting the raw model data which I had never imagined. Staffs I met in the HKO are also very nice and they are willing to share everything with us from research to the academics.

All in all, the year I spent in the HKO was rewarding and unforgettable.


photo: Cliff LAU

Martin LAU

Being an intern at HKO this year was one of the most memorable things in my life. The experience helped me gain out of school knowledge and made my faith in pursuing a meteorological career much stronger than ever. My project was to predict the diurnal variation of surface temperature in HKO by applying local tephigram into a deep-learning-based model. I remember I was doubtful about my ability at the beginning of the placement, asking myself whether I am able to complete my project well. Thankfully, through working hard and humbly asking for help from colleagues and my supervisor, I finally harvested a lot of valuable outcomes, ranging from multiple programming languages, presentation skills, and robust experience in machine learning, to meteorological knowledge relevant to my project. At the end of the year, my project bore fruit with some unexpected extra contributions. Working in HKO this year also allowed me to make new friends from different backgrounds. The people and working environment in HKO are very nice. This year in HKO is definitely a fruitful and fantastic memory, and I will never forget it.


photo: Martin LAU


My past year of working in HKO was one of the most fruitful experiences throughout my career. It allowed me to finally apply and integrate the different disciplines of Earth System science and put it into practice.

My project in HKO was related to the development of Ocean Modelling Forecast System (OMFS). Through coupling the ocean and wave model, we can produce a six-day forecast of the ocean weather. There are various applications from OMFS, including calculating the tropical cyclone heat potential for parameterizing the intensity of tropical cyclone, and estimating the water level related to storm surge.

The internship was not without its difficulties. With the spread of COVID-19, we were initially required to work from home. This introduced various hurdles we had to overcome during our various projects. Thankfully, our colleagues in HKO were tremendously helpful and ready to offer guidance whenever we need it.

在天文台的一年實習生涯,加深了我對這個機構的認識, 不僅是在科學的基礎為市民提供每天的天氣預報,還有海洋、天文、時間等不同範疇的服務。我所負責的工作是和海洋有關,利用海洋和波浪的模型預測未來六天的海洋氣侯資訊,包括水位、水流、溫度等。我們也能透過這些預測所得岀來的數據作分析,例如以溫度來計算颱風潛熱,以水位計算颱風接近有機會造成的風暴潮。

實習中最大的挑戰是我對海洋氣侯的認識不深, 因為我的主修的地球物理是跟地質、地震有關。透過在這一年不斷的嘗試和研究不同的學術文章,加上上司和負責同樣項目的上一任實習生悉心的指導,總算加深了對這方面的理解。這一年橫跨疫情緊張到後疫情時代,更加體會到實習機會難能可貴,希望這個系統在不久的將來能夠應用,而我也能在往後的學習實踐這一年所學到的技能。

photo: Zoe LAU

NG Tsan Fung

Throughout a year of fruitful internship and scientific research at the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), I now understand that the knowledge learnt in the university is only the tip of an iceberg. My task was monitoring the weather conditions near Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) by using deep learning model through weather cameras. Meteorological knowledge and computer programming skills were needed which made the project more challenging. Fortunately, the working atmosphere in HKO encourages us to learn from experts. With the guidance and support from my mentor and colleagues, I successfully constructed an automatic weather monitor system driven by artificial intelligence within one year, and the accuracy and quality of the system were further affirmed by other colleagues. In addition, during this internship and research, I was able to experience and keep pace with the current advanced technology. Last but not least, I would like to thank HKO and ESSC for giving me this valuable opportunity, which broadened my horizons in various aspects of meteorology and data science, raised my interest in scientific research and future studies after graduation, and most importantly, made friends with shared ambitions.


photo: NG Tsan Fung

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2020:

Bowie CHAN

Speaking of earthquakes, many Hong Kong citizens would find them very distant and unrelated to them, yet a few small-magnitude earthquakes occurred near Hong Kong throughout history. Occasionally people in Hong Kong could even feel the ground shaking for earthquakes in Taiwan. In fact, the Hong Kong Observatory has set up an earthquake monitoring system apart from the well-known atmospheric and meteorological services.

In the past, the earthquake intensities are determined based on reports from citizens collected through the Internet and phone. However, it takes time and, moreover, reports based on human sensation could be subjective. Given these problems, my project aims to determine earthquake intensities from instrumental data, which give more accurate and prompter responses. After generating and analyzing peak ground acceleration (PGA) derived from strong motion accelerometer (SMA) waveforms, I studied station characteristics and proposed an updated approach relating earthquake intensity with PGA.

The internship was a unique experience because there are seldom internship opportunities related to geophysics, especially earthquakes. I feel grateful and fortunate to be able to help developing the monitoring system. In addition to cultivating self-learning skills for programming and statistics, learning from experts and colleagues is one of the main takeaways from the program. As I was navigating through the system, I was encouraged by my supervisor to propose new ideas for improving the system. Such flexibility allowed me to try more orientations other than the assigned work. This experience was truly memorable, and it motivated me to continue geophysics-related studies.


photo: Bowie CHAN

Jonathan LAU

photo: Jonathan LAU

Not only that it is a rare opportunity, taking an internship at Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) is also an unforgettable experience for me. Working at HKO allowed me to use my meteorology knowledge and programming skills learned in ESSC classes. Besides, I also learned many knowledge of weather and climate thanks to this internship experience. The project I worked at HKO concerns the development of an algorithm forecasting the growth/decay of a storm cells, by analyzing historical radar data, so as to improve the nowcasting system of heavy rainfall. Although the COVID-19 pandemic reduced my chance to work in office and directly communicate with my boss and colleague, they still gave me lots of device and help when I encountered problem in my project, which enables me to finish my project smoothly in 2020. Overall, working in HKO benefits me a lot.


Tiffany PANG

photo: Tiffany PANG

Last summer, I was a part of the HKO summer placement programme, during the third wave of COVID-19. This is my first internship related to meteorology and participating in this has always been on my bucket list since I saw the ESSC information brochure. Thank you HKO and ESSC for providing this amazing opportunity and help us experience it through between the second and third wave of the pandemic. I have learnt so much about impact study, and applications of meteorological data in decision making. This short-term project about extreme temperature events in Hong Kong exposed me to a working environment while further improved my research skills.


Nicolas LO

I am grateful to have my 2020 filled with a valuable internship experience at the Hong Kong Observatory. Under the influence of pandemics, we all faced many difficulties in our daily lives. Luckily, I was able to spend a fruitful year at HKO. At the beginning of my placement, I was really panicking and doubting my ability. Thankfully, I was able to pick up the work gradually and made progress under the supervision of my mentor and colleagues. My main duty was to work on the development of urban automatic weather monitoring stations, which involved the design of the meteorological instruments, site assessment, data transmission, data quality control and data-sharing platform. Through different assigned tasks, I was able to comprehensively understand the establishment of a weather observation network and equip myself with professional skills, such as 3D printing technology, Arduino and programming skills, etc. One of the most remarkable moments was the designing and installation of HKO patented smart lamppost, namely Bollard. This design not only performed accurate meteorological measurement, but also blended so nicely to our community. My internship experience allowed me to meet many nice HKO staff and interns. I have learnt a lot here and grown a lot this year. Thank you HKO!


photo: Nicolas LO

Cindy WU

photo: Cindy WU

I am very glad to have a one-year internship at Hong Kong Observatory. Although we need to work from home most of the time due to COVID-19, I had still learnt a lot and gained many treasurable experiences last year. My project is mainly to reduce the bias between the original model temperature forecasts and the temperature observations recorded by HKO. Moreover, I had also created a new fine-scale forecasting model to predict the diurnal maximum and minimum temperature. Apart from giving me a chance to use the knowledge I had learnt in class, I also learned a lot of statistical and programming skills from the project. I had also a great opportunity joining the workshops held by HKO, making mini automatic weather stations that can measure temperature, pressure and humidity with just a single-board computer. At the end of my internship program, I had joined the Technical Form in HKO to present my findings. All in all, my experiences in HKO is special and full of variety which enriched my university life. On the other hand, this gave me a moment to think deeply about my career path. I am much more interested in atmospheric science research after my internship in HKO and hopefully, I can have my postgraduate study in this field.


ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2019:

Jeremy WONG

Being able to work in the Hong Kong Observatory was out of my expectation yet a remarkable experience for me. Contrary to the perception of HKO as an solely atmospheric and meteorological research and service agency, HKO also offers geophysical research and monitoring services. Throughout a year of internship, I was responsible on the revitalization of the HKO Earthquake Monitoring System. The project was challenging yet fruitful. Revitalizing the Earthquake monitoring system requires extensive knowledge ranging from usage of different seismic instrumentations, mathematical and geophysical understanding on Earthquake locations and detections to the practical computational and programming skills used in clusters of servers.

I was first overwhelmed by the huge prerequisite in understanding the systems and mechanisms behind. Nevertheless, with the support and guidance from my supervisor and colleagues, I was able to reconstruct a new system with improved efficiency and performance.  I was also able to develop a new module using artificial intelligence to validate the performance of the newly developed system. Beside the project itself, HKO also offered me wide exposure to its services and duties. I was allowed to visit and participate different sections of HKO including radar outpost, instrumental maintenance and various conference meetings. The valuable internship experience was irreplaceable and strengthened my determination to devote myself to scientific research.

很感恩能在天文台作一年實習生,在天文台工作一直是我預期之外。天文台除了有天氣及氣象的研究和服務外,還提供了地球物理的監察和工作。過去一年的實習中,我負責更新及改善天文台的地震監測系統。整個地震監測系統涉及的範圍廣闊,包括不同類型地震儀的應用、地震學的數理知識和電腦系統所需要的程式編碼,因此過去一年的工作極具挑戰性。但伴隨着上司和同事善意指導與支持, 最終能在一年的實習其間建立更精準和快捷的地震監測系統。除此之外,新的系統也成功試行加入人工智能監測和評估系統表現,進一步提升效能。除了電腦系統的工作以外,天文台也提供了不少機會讓我認識和參與,例如考察天文台各大雷達站,地震儀的維修保養工作和不同地區和國際性議會,令我實習生涯多姿多采。這一年的實習令我更想進深參與科研工作,進一步研究和理解地球運作。

photo: Jeremy Wong

Taurus YONG

My internship at HKO has intensified my enthusiasm in the Earth System Science field. I worked at the Forecast Systems Division on a research project to verify the performance of automatic global city weather forecasts based on post-processed outputs from various numerical weather prediction models. I have studied the relationship between weather and geology by investigating the model performance carried around the world. During the placement in HKO, I have developed research skills by utilizing statistical analysis on the data performance of models. I have also further intensified my background knowledge in weather and climate, coupled with geology, which makes me more believing in Earth working as a system consisted of atmosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere. Moreover, working and learning alongside the experts in HKO was an incredible experience. The working environment in HKO is dynamic, friendly, and proactive, allowing me to gain a lot in career development and new perspective.


photo: Taurus YONG

LAU King Heng

photo: LAU King Heng

Working as an intern in HKO last year is an unforgettable experience. My work mainly includes designing and installing microclimate stations and revamping the automatic quality assurance system for meteorological data. Although I faced many challenges in my work, my colleagues and mentor were very kind and gave me valuable advices. I was able to apply the atmospheric science concepts I learnt in ESSC courses to my work. Moreover, I had the opportunity to teach myself skills that are not mentioned in classes, such as 3D printing and new programming languages. Apart from my research work, I was very fortunate to be able to participate in several outreach events, as well as visiting weather stations that are not open to the public (e.g. Tate’s Cairn, Green Island). These experiences were truly eye-opening. After the internship, I now have more motivation and confidence in pursuing further studies after my graduation in Atmospheric Science.



The one-year internship in Hong Kong Observatory is undoubtedly worth experiencing. My research project aimed to develop a marine forecasting model system using numerical models for the Western Pacific and the South China Sea, which applies knowledge from the following courses: Ocean and Climate, ESSC3300, and Numerical Methods and Modelling for Earth System Science, ESSC4520. Although I merely have a relatively basic understanding in these aspects, my supervisor, Mr. Dickson Lau, was extremely patient to provide guidance and advice to me. Besides the research project, the Hong Kong Observatory provided various opportunities for interns to visit different stations. Having the chances to explore the tide stations, radar stations and other observation meteorological stations has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the daily operation of the observatory. Moreover, Hong Kong Observatory provides additional training sessions for the interns. Luckily, I was granted the opportunity to attend some lectures about modelling. These experiences offered me chances to communicate with different government parties. All in all, the internship in Hong Kong Observatory is certainly a memorable and amazing experience in my university life, and it allows me to be better prepared for my future career path.

在香港天文台實習一年是一個非常難得的經驗。我的研究項目旨在使用海洋預測模型系統以預測西太平洋和南中國海範圍的海洋氣候資訊,過程中可以利用以下課程的知識:海洋與氣候 (ESSC3300) 和地球系統科學的數值方法與建模 (ESSC4520 )。儘管我在這些方面只有非常基本的了解,但我的主管劉先生還是很耐心地提供指導和建議。除研究項目外,香港天文台還為實習生提供機會訪問不同站點,例如潮汐站,雷達站和其他觀測氣象站,使我對天文台的日常操作有了更深入的了解。此外,香港天文台為實習生提供額外的培訓課程,以提高我對建模的知識,這些經驗亦使我有機會與不同的政府部門進行交流。總而言之,香港天文台實習是我大學生活中難忘的經歷,以及讓我為未來的職業道路做更多準備。

photo: Venus CHEUNG

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2018:

(From left) Nathan WONG, Gabriel FAN, Avis WONG and Coty CHENG

(From left) Nathan WONG, Gabriel FAN, Avis WONG and Coty CHENG


Your future is defined by the decisions you make at the moment. Luckily, I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone to have internship at the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) during 2018. This unforgettable experience changed my life. I was responsible for the development and installation of urban automatic weather monitoring stations for smart cities. From selecting suitable instruments to designing the outlook of radiation shields and applying 3D printing technology, to finally finding a suitable location for establishment of stations, my cordial supervisor had instructed me in a very supportive way. Since I needed to build stations from scratch, many specialized techniques are involved. So, I had cooperated with my friendly colleagues in different positions to finish my work. They also answered my questions about some technical skills very patiently.

During the internship, in order to turn my idea into reality, I studied and applied woodworking skills and 3D printing technology, which I both had zero understanding before. More importantly, I have developed a more mature mindset, and started thinking in a more realistic way. Also, I have met many nice student interns and became friends with them. This fruitful experience as an intern in HKO was really fascinating and unforgettable, which helped confirm my future goals.

人生由無數的選擇交織而成。很慶幸,我能選擇跳出自己的舒適圈,於天文台實習的經歷改變了我的人生。並非與其他同伴一樣研究電腦模式,我主要協助研究開發及設立城市中的微氣候監測站。從挑選儀器、設計監測站的外型及內部結構、運用3D 打印技術將意念化為現實、進行不同的比較測試從而決定儀器及監測站間最合適的配搭,到尋覓地方建立微型的城市天氣網絡,都在親切的導師指導下逐步實現。工作範圍涵蓋之廣,讓我能有機會與不同職位的同事緊密合作,一同外出工作,他們友善教導經驗不足的我,對我的疑問亦耐心解答。這次實習不僅讓我理解以前從未接觸的木工技巧、3D打印技術,更改變了自己的思考模式,比起以往常流於理論層面,變得多從實際情況作出考量,思想亦比當初成熟不少。 很幸運,能在天文台實習一年實在獲益匪淺,亦令我更確定人生將來的路向。

Gabriel FAN

The HKO internship programme is a valuable opportunity for applying what we have learnt at ESSC to real life problems and working situations. From January 2017 to August 2018, I was responsible for the first-ever micro climate monitoring project through developing a dense observation network in the city centre of Kowloon. I was involved in the design of temperature measuring instrument, measuring site selections, communications, constructions, maintenance, data analysis, presentation and paper writing. I had to communicate with outside parties such as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Lands Department, the Polytechnic University and HKUST. Apart from my own project, I was also involved in other works. For example, automatic weather station maintenance and data monitoring, organizing outreach projects such as the Community Weather Observing Scheme in Facebook, Weather Observation Competition for secondary schools, Public Weather Observation Course, the HKO Open Day etc. In this period, I have come across many knowledgeable and helpful colleagues from various divisions and organizations, and have gained a deep understanding of HKO.



Working in the Hong Kong Observatory last summer break is really an unforgettable experience. I have applied what I learnt in my undergraduate course in my work in HKO. My HKO experience also provides me hands-on experiences on adapting to challenges, all within a nice working environment. My role in HKO involved analysing data and developing an algorithm to provide a probabilistic storm surge prediction. Colleagues and my mentors were always friendly and helpful, they would explain and discuss with me some difficulties I faced so as to solve the problems. They always provided me some directions when I was facing an arduous problem. Besides my own research work, the experiences of visiting some weather stations, tidal stations and seismograph stations not open to the public made my time there really memorable. The placement programme in HKO did help me to know more about HKO and to have a more comprehensive picture of the operation of HKO. It was really a fruitful and meaningful experience.

剛過去的暑假,我有幸在天文台裡進行為期兩個月的實習工作。我在本科課程中學習到不少有關於大氣科學的知識,而天文台正正給予我一個寶貴的機會讓我把過去兩年所學習到的科學知識應用出來。在這短短的兩個多月中,我首先要為天文台過去的颱風路徑預測作出一些數據分析,然後再就這些分析建立一套風暴潮概率預報演算法,讓天文台其他同事能夠進行相關的風險評估。由實習初期對編程語言一竅不通,到最後經過多次嘗試後成功研發出一套演算法,這有賴天文台其他同事全力協助及教導及與其他實習學生的共同研究及討論,更重要的是天文台中的導師提出了不少方向令我能對自己的作品有所改善。 除研習工作外,我更可以與其他的實習生討論研究成果,而最令我留下深刻印象的就是我的導師不時帶我到平時不對外開放的氣象站、潮汐站及地震測量站的參觀。這兩個月的工作確實令我對天文台的認識大增,亦令我結識了不少有相同興趣的朋友,獲益良多。

Conson LEUNG

Working in the HKO is one of my aspirations since secondary school due to my interest in meteorology, therefore I applied for the 1 year internship last year. My project was related to weather radar and rainfall nowcast. I have learnt to use programming (Python) to handle the radar data in my research project, so my programming skills was greatly improved.

Besides working in office, I enjoyed going out for field trips; for example, we went to visit the King's Park and Waglan Island weather stations. Field trips were enjoyable as I could explore many apparatus inside the stations; those experience were valuable because otherwise I would not be able to visit those stations if not going together with HKO staffs.

Internship in HKO is definitely a valuable experience in my University life. The work environment is friendly, and colleagues were willing to help if you face difficulties in your project. If you were interested in meteorology, grab the chance and apply for it!

photo: Conson LEUNG

由於我對氣象深感興趣,在香港天文台工作是我自中學以來的一個願望,因此我去年申請了天文台一年實習計劃,有幸如願以償。我在實習時的主要研究範疇有關天氣雷達和降雨預報。我學會了使用程式 (Python) 來處理數據和繪圖,所以我的編程技巧有顯著的進步。

除了在辦公室工作外,我喜歡外出參觀天文台的氣象站,例如,我有機會參觀京土柏和橫瀾島氣象站。實地考察的機會難能可貴,我可以探索氣象站內許多我以前未見過的設備, 例如巨型探空氣球和各種雨量計。若非與天文台工作人員一起去,平日我無法造訪那些氣象站。


Samuel KAM

photo: Samuel KAM

Internship in HKO is a truly fruitful experience. You can tell how HKO values its interns because important projects are assigned to us. Under this high expectation and the guidance from my supervisor, I was able to learn way more than I thought. School lectures focus on theories while internship focuses on practicality. Immersion in an environment with cutting-edge technology, and opportunities to do presentation in front of directors and scientific officers of HKO help me to grow. After the completion of my project, my product was delivered to other countries. Knowing that what I did is helpful to those in real need brings me the biggest fulfilment. During leisure, spending time with other interns is also enjoyable.

在天文台實習是非常良好的工作體驗。天文台非常信任實習生,會對我們予以重任。在這種期望,及advisor耐心的指導及支援下,這一年收穫實在太多。學校上課著重理論;實習卻是著重實戰﹕平日的工作裝備你的technical skills, 你會接觸到最尖端、最新的科技/知識,加上在台長面前匯報的機會,實在獲益良多。一年過後,完成了自己的project, 看見自己的product被真正有需要的國家使用,並予以好評,那一刻,看見自己完成了一件很有意義的事情。而工作之餘,與同事及同學們一起共度一年,換來了真至的友誼。

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2017:

Nathan WONG

Working in the Hong Kong Observatory last year is an unforgettable experience. There, I can apply the knowledge we have learned in the university to do research and develop new products. My research project was to improve the existing forecast verification system, and also to develop and apply new verification methods in the hope of providing insights of where the current weaknesses are and where we could improve. At first, I was not so familiar with some concepts and terms such as database and different file formats, but my supervisor and colleagues were very kind and were ready to explain them. I was also engaged in several other research projects, such as precipitation forecast calibration and cloud amount derivation using satellite imagery, and also had a chance to co-author a paper with my supervisor. Some of the products I developed have been put into operation. It felt very satisfying to see them being are useful. The internship broadened my horizons on various aspects of meteorology, and I learned a lot about the current limitations and bottlenecks in weather forecasting and verification. Together with the computer skills learned there and the experience of handling large amount of meteorological data, the internship really strengthened my confidence and allowed me to be well-equipped for my future endeavors.


Leo NG

photo: Leo NG

Working in Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) for a year provides me an opportunity to do research using operational data. Apart from that, the time when Super Typhoon Hato (with typhoon signal No. 10) hit Hong Kong in July is the most memorable moment in the whole year. As a student intern, I am able to observe how HKO staff using professional forecasts and nowcast tools on Hato. During the internship period, I was responsible for developing a simplified meso-scale atmospheric model. This challenging task allows me to apply what I have learnt in boundary layer meteorology (ESSC 4210). The model needs to be continuously modified to obtain better forecasting performance on different weather elements under the supervision of my mentor. This year’s experience raises my interests in scientific researching and further studies after graduation.


ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2016:

Yvonne IP

photo: Yvonne

Spending one year in the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) as a placement student is a very valuable experience. Besides having the chance to observe closely how HKO staff provide their professional services, or visiting different facilities, as an intern I could do research based on real operational data, the result of which might be implemented into HKO operational system, thus serving our own home city. My research project includes enhancing conversion from radar reflectivity to rainfall rate, as well as converting meteorological satellite images into radar reflectivity using artificial neural network. Although doing research is not easy, I learnt a lot in the process. During my internship, my mentor has given me many chance of studying different topics. Other colleagues have also given me a big helping hand. The experience of this year has strengthened my determination to devote myself to scientific research.

在天文台實習是一個非常珍貴的體驗。除了可以近距離觀察天文台職員運用他們的專業知識為市民大眾提供準確的預測服務、參觀各個平時不對外開放的氣象觀察設施,實習生還有機會使用不會向大眾公開、實時、高解象的氣象數據來進行各式各樣的研究。研究成果理想的話,甚至有機會被天文台採用。 這一年的實習期間,我要研究如何改善將雷達反射率轉換成降雨量的運算法、利用人工神經網絡將衛星圖象轉換成雷達反射率。 研究過程雖然辛苦,但從完全不懂到略懂一二、從驚惶失措到冷靜地去嘗試不同的解決方案、從只懂得單向地從老師中學習知識到明白到自己去找答案和與同伴討論更能透徹地理解問題,我不但學了許多,也成長了許多。 在實習期間,我的導師給予了我許多機會去研究不同的課題,其他同事也在研究過程給予了我許多幫助,非常感謝他們。這一年的經歷,堅定了我在科研路上努力的決心。

ESSC student as HKO intern in year 2015:

Qian Kaiwei

I started my year-round internship last January in HKO. The project I worked on is to use the CCA (canonical correlation analysis) method to statistically downscale the GCM (general circulation model) output. Besides, the extreme weather in the future such as heat wave and cold surge is also analyzed during my internship. Internship at HKO is helpful. My mentor and colleagues are very kind and helpful and they taught me a lot of knowledge about meteorology and statistical downscaling. Nevertheless, I learnt how to handle different data and enhanced my scientific thinking during my project. I also met lovely student interns there, and I enjoy the experience at HKO.


ESSC students as HKO interns in year 2014:

Mannie KAM

photo: Mannie

Being able to work in the Hong Kong Observatory was one of the unexpected yet fruitful experience in the 4-year curricula (now 5) in CUHK. I still remember the nervousness of my first day of work, having no previous experience in a workplace. The colleagues there were very friendly and willing to guide me throughout the placement.
During the internship I was responsible for mapping the monthly rainfall data in Hong Kong by using different interpolation methods. Though there was many limitations when approaching the problem and the final results was not very significant, this opportunity has given me a handful experience in doing research and knowing my strength and weakness in solving a scientific problem.
Outside the working hours, the staff in HKO has kindly guided us in several outing tours like the King’s Park Meteorology Station and the office in Air Traffic Control tower. I have gained more insight about the tasks of the observatory and would strongly recommend people who are interested in this field to participate in this placement.



Tommy CHAN

Photo: Tommy

After finishing various fundamental science courses, I chose to take a gap year in 2014 and went to Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) to work as a full-time research staff for the placement programme in my sophomore year. This is my first independent research project which I have found my deep passion for scientific research.
My research at HKO focused on using statistical methods to extract information about climate extremes in China from different data sources including model outputs, field observations and reanalysis of data. The ultimate goal was to detect, attribute and project regional changes in extreme events in China, which still remain largely uncertain. The major difficulties of the project included data incoherence and the significant effect of natural variability on extreme events. I explored different statistical tools to tackle the problems. Meanwhile, I contributed various data processing programs to my colleagues.
Working at HKO was enjoyable. I met an excellent mentor, many friendly colleagues and student interns. Apart from the research projects, I also had opportunities to visit to various HKO facilities, such as the Airport Meteorological Office, to understand more about the services of HKO. I have learnt a lot of things which cannot be found in conventional curricula.