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Additional location for EU organization: European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts opens in Bonn

Additional location for EU organization : European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts opens in Bonn

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has opened some offices in Bonn. There are also plans for its own 65-meter-high new building. What exactly does the organization do and what staff will be located here in Bonn?

The "pioneers" havesetupshop on the fourthfloor. A wing containing offices already belongs entirely to them. Many more are to be added over the course of the next year. Pioneers - that's what David Armstrong calls the 20 or so employees of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) who have been working in Bonn since the beginning of September. For the time being, they are housed in the building of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. A separate building for the weather center is already under construction and is scheduled to be occupied in 2026.

Armstrong is one of the spokesmen for the institute, which is known internationally as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The headquarters are located in the southern English city of Reading. Among other things, the EU Copernicus project will be managed in the Bonn branch in the future as an observation and monitoring service for climatechange and the atmosphere. ECMWF's mission has been set since the mid-1970s: Founded as a joint initiative of originally 18 European countries, yet operating as an independent international researchinstitute, its focus has been on observing weatherpatterns and climateresearch.

Bonn wins out overeightothercandidates

As an integral part of the EU framework, Bonn is a top international address in this field. "All member countries and numerous other nations benefitfrom the work," says Armstrong. At the end of 2020, the decision was made to set out for new frontiers on the European mainland. ECMWF has maintained a branch in Bologna for some time.

Thisis also where the supercomputerislocatedthatisused to carry out the complexforecasts and monitoring. Bonn was awarded the contract in competition with eight other European candidates. In addition to the desire to expand the locations, "Brexit" apparently also played a role when it came to the partial departure from the UK, evenif the headquarters in Reading was in nowayup for debate.

"We prefer to think of it as a new location bringing fresh opportunities. Bonn is in the heartof Europe, important scientific institutions arelocatedhereortheyareeasilyaccessible," says Armstrong. For example, he says, the proximity to the German Aerospace Center and the ministries and their focus on the environment and digital infrastructure is ideal with regard to ECMWF's tasks. Besides Armstrong, otherclimate and weather scientists have come here as well, as have data and IT experts.

Complex simulations and a "digital twin" of the Earth

"With constantly updated data, we produce an analysis of the European and global climate every month," Armstrong says. These and other results, he says, primarily benefit policymakers involved in environmental issues. "We stand for the commitment of the EU and othercountries to work toward climategoals." ECMWF's work becomes publicly visible when, for example, Earth simulations appear on television. Speaking of simulation, the institute is also collaborating on a "digital twin" of the planet - not a gimmick, but rather a tool to better map both climate development and extreme events.

ECMWF's work is not only about the atmosphere. The self-proclaimed pioneers also need to come together as a group. Armstrong is one of those who have moved their center of life from its previous headquarters in Reading to Bonn. A large part of the early staff has been specially recruited. Gradually, more newcomers are expected to join the original staff, but weather and IT experts are also relocating from the headquarters. "We are an international team, which is a very exciting mix," says the spokesperson. "Most of them didn't know eachother before. We are gradually growing together as a group.”

New Bonn residentsexplore the region

Some, like himself, have come to Bonn on their own, others are accompanied by their families. "We check out the city and the region as often as we can when we go out together," Armstrong says, "of course, everyone also discovers the new surroundings on their own too." He lives in the southernpart of the city and his co-workers are scattered throughout different parts of the city. "The wordpioneers came up at some point because we are the first ones who were allowed to come to Bonn for ECMWF. Our joint Messenger group is also called that," he says with a smile.

(Orig. text: Alexander Barth; Translation: ck)