Gov't mulls unified forecast of smog levels

Updated 2017-01-18 11:14:33 chinadaily.com.cn

Are you ever at a loss as to what to do when you frequently see smog level predictions contradict each other in different official forecasts? It will not be the case any more in the near future.

Chinese authorities are now working together to unify the official forecast for smog levels, thepaper.cn reported Wednesday.

A notice about suspension of smog forecast for meteorological agencies circulated online Tuesday night.

The notice, reportedly issued by a provincial meteorological agency, said the agency received a telephone call from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the country's meteorological authority, at 18:36 Tuesday which required meteorological agencies at all levels in that province to stop smog forecast immediately.

The news was confirmed by the CMA. An unnamed official at the CMA told thepaper.cn that official smog forecast will be issued by just one department in the future

"In the past, smog forecasts issued by meteorological agencies often contradicted with those released by environmental agencies," the official claimed.

"Now a new joint work mechanism will be rolled out. There will be a consultation mechanism on how and who to issue smog alerts," the official added.

The official said those who will take part in consultation include the Ministry of Environment, the CMA and other related departments. The smog forecasts will be released by one department after consultation.

The new mechanism would be made public soon as its details are yet to be finalized, according to the official.

In the past, different levels of air pollution were released on the same day. Beijing Meteorological Service issued an orange alert for smog while the emergency office of the city released a red alert for heavy pollution under recommendation from Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau.

One reason for the discrepancy could be that the standards for issuing smog alerts or heavy pollution alerts are different for the two organizations.

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