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 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.
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).
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
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