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Grand Opening of the ESSL Research and Training Centre

On 21 June 2012, the European Severe Storm Laboratory (ESSL) celebrated the Grand Opening of its Research and Training Centre in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Although it was officially opened on 21 June, it has been in use for the ESSL Testbed since 4 June. The ESSL Testbed is a project to enhance severe weather forecasting across Europe. The Testbed provides forecaster training, testing of forecasting tools, and is a platform for interaction between researchers and forecasters. The establishment of the Research and Training Centre is an idea which can be traced back to the times of the previous ESSL director, Nikolai Dotzek, founder of the ESSL, who died unexpectedly in May 2010.

The planning and implementation of the first Testbed took roughly one year. Its accomplishment in this relatively short time would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organizations. ESSL’s choice for Wiener Neustadt was motivated by the following reasons:

  • The proximity to its supporting partners and institutional members ZAMG (Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik) and AustroControl.
  • The support by Wiener Neustadt and the province of Lower Austria.
  • The historical connection between Wiener Neustadt and severe weather; a devastating tornado struck Wiener Neustadt in 10 July 1916. The tornado risk of Wiener Neustadt is currently analysed during the project ‘TORNeustadt’.
  • The central location within Europe, the proximity to several capital cities (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Zagreb), and the good infrastructure.

The ESSL Research and Training Centre currently hosts the ESSL Testbed 2012. Several other trainings, workshops and symposia are planned for this and the following year.

(full-size photo)
ESSL staff, partners and guests from left to right: Alois M. Holzer (ESSL Director of Operations), Dimitar Ivanov (Chief of the WMO regional Office Europe), Mag. Klaus Schneeberger (Chairman of Club in the provincial parliament of Lower Austria), BA Bernhard Müller (Mayor of the city of Wiener Neustadt), Dr. Fritz Neuwirth (President of the Austrian Meteorological Society), Dr. Pieter Groenemeijer (ESSL Director) and Dr. Michael Staudinger (Director of the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, ZAMG)

The opening ceremony was led by the ESSL Director of Operations, Alois M Holzer. He welcomed the guests with an introduction to the ESSL. In the course of the evening, several speakers stressed the need of an international focus on severe weather and climate change. These scientists and politicians addressed the audience: Dr. Michael Staudinger (Director of the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie and Geodynamik (ZAMG) and ESSL Advisory Councillor), Dimitar Ivanov (Chief of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Regional Office for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland and representing WMO Region VI President Ivan Cacic), Dr. Fritz Neuwirth (President of the Austrian Meteorological Society and representing the president of the European Meteorological Society, Dominique Marbouty), BA Bernhard Müller (Mayor of the city of Wiener Neustadt) and Mag. Klaus Schneeberger (Chairman of Club in the provincial parliament of Lower Austria and representing the Governor of Lower Austria, Dr. Erwin Pröll).
ESSL Director Dr. Pieter Groenemeijer opened the Research and Training Centre.

(full-size photo)
The attendant ESSL staff enjoys the Grand Opening. ESSL staff from left to right: Pieter Groenemeijer (ESSL Director), Alois M. Holzer (ESSL Director of Operations), Mathias Stampfl (ESSL ESWD Quality Control), Magdalena Pichler (ESSL Assistant to the Board), Georg Pistotnik (ESSL scientific employee) and Kathrin Riemann-Campe (ESSL Deputy Director).

WMO Regional Office for Europe established a good collaboration with the ESSL and provided support to four participants in the first ESSL Testbed (from Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedionia, Serbia and Turkey) through a new project entitled "Building resiliance of Western Balkans and Turkey to Natural Disasters". The project is funded by the European Commission DG Enlargement and implemented jointly by the UNISDR and WMO.

Contact: Dr. Kathrin Riemann-Campe, ESSL
Email: kathrin.riemann-campe[at]












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