The President of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) received MOP 1.14 million (US$140,994) in funding to lead a groundbreaking investigation into severe weather in the SAR.
“It is important because of the impact of climate change on extreme weather conditions and flooding in Macau,” Joseph Lee Hun-wei, president of MUST, Lusa said in an interview.
The support provided by the Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) and the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Ministry will support “basic research on forecasting storms and floods” in the region, officials said. Chinese administrative region.
“This ability to predict the weather in Macau should be improved,” says the specialist in water and environmental technology.
The three-year project focuses on Hac Sa Bay in Coloane, an area “that has not yet been well studied” and that puts MUST at the forefront of local climate research: It will make “the first field measurements of waves and ocean currents in Macau.” with instruments and sensors to be deposited on site.
It is also the first “deep cooperation” with a “major hydraulic research center in Guangdong Province” — the Pearl River Water Resources Scientific Study Institute.
Macau is hit annually by typhoons of different categories, with the period between July and September being the most critical.
Between five and eight tropical cyclones are expected in the region this year, according to the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) forecast in March, which emphasized that “climate extremes continue to occur and tropical cyclones continue to increase” in the area.
Since 2017, two typhoons have forced the authorities to issue the highest alert level (Signal 10).
The passage of the Mangkhut in 2018 left MOP 1.74 billion in economic damage and caused 40 casualties and severe flooding. A year earlier, Hato caused 10 deaths, 240 injuries, and damage estimated at MOP 12.55 billion.
The passage of typhoons through the territory is usually accompanied by severe flooding, particularly in the lower reaches of the peninsula, where traders and local residents are usually affected.
Joseph Lee has spent the last few years researching engineering solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change on heritage and cities. He has been involved in projects in the Mong Kok and Happy Valley areas of Hong Kong, where solutions such as draining rainwater through underground tunnels that transport the water to the sea have been chosen to reduce the impact of flooding.
To deal with severe weather events in Macau, such as storms, the engineer defended a “combination of nature-based solutions” during a “webinar” organized by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in late April. , such as the development of mangroves, which can help reduce the impact of waves during typhoons, and “structural solutions”.
“Here underground and drainage networks can be very relevant, because, as I understand it, when the typhoon arrives, seawater can return through the network and flood the city, ie [floods] are not only caused by the rain,” he said.
“Nature-based solutions are important, but they need a scientific basis. The question is whether the government could support this very important type of investigation,” he added.
Referring to Lusa, the President of MUST also said that compared to other cities in the Greater Bay Area, Macau is “just beginning” in environmental and hydraulic engineering research.
“We don’t have enough people or researchers,” the expert admitted, emphasizing that it would be important to work with other cities in the region.
“But to work effectively with other partners, you have to already have some depth,” Lee noted, noting that the small region hasn’t reached that level yet.