Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics

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AustriaAustria  Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG)
Austrian authority
ZAMG logo
State level Federation
Position of the authority partially legally competent federal institution
At sight Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research
founding July 23, 1851 as the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geomagnetism
head office Vienna- Döbling , Hohe Warte (1)
Authority management Michael Staudinger
Servants ~ 300
Website www.zamg.ac.at
Board at the Hohe Warte

The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics ( ZAMG ) is Austria's state meteorological and geophysical service , which is also called Hohe Warte after its address .

It is a subordinate agency of the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research . ZAMG's head office is in Vienna - Döbling , Hohe Warte 38. ZAMG is represented by customer service points in Salzburg , Innsbruck , Graz and Klagenfurt . The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics has extensive legal tasks to fulfill and can also act under private law within the framework of its partial legal capacity .

ZAMG was founded in 1851, making it the oldest state weather service in the world. Their task is not only to operate measurement networks and research in the various specialist areas, but also to make their results available to the public.

organization structure

Seat and facilities

Historic Hann house with "weather hut design", ZAMG Vienna Hohe Warte
A weather balloon just before the ascent

The Hohe Warte in Vienna- Döbling is the headquarters of the Central Meteorological Institute and also the customer service point for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. In addition to the historic Hann building, which was erected in 1872, and the main building, the headquarters in Vienna has a balloon filling house, a radar tower and its own wind tunnel.

Other ZAMG institutions are:


Today the Zentralanstalt, as a partially legally competent federal institution, is a modern service provider. The areas of responsibility of the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics are divided into the following departments, among others:

  • The synoptic department is responsible for the daily forecast service with the aid of modern technology. Official weather warnings and numerous other synoptic services are also part of their areas of responsibility.
  • The geophysical department carries out the earthquake and geomagnetic service .
  • The climate department creates climate statistics and maps using the data obtained from the Austrian measuring network. Furthermore, she conducts research in areas of the domestic climate and its changes, including in areas of glaciology .
    ZAMG headquarters and radar tower at night
  • The Department of Environmental Meteorology studies the spread of pollutants and their behavior in the atmosphere. Among other things, it provides direct information to the Federal Warning Center in the event of a crisis (e.g. radioactivity in the atmosphere) .
  • The technical department oversees the state meteorological measuring network, which consists of semi-automatic weather recording systems (TAWES stations) and semi-automatic climate stations (TAKLIS stations). She also looks after the daily radiosonde ascents .
  • The department for electronic data processing is equipped with modern devices to cope with the extensive computer-controlled processes and takes care of the in-house weather models, among other things.

In 2009 the ZAMG was issued the renewal audit for its quality management system. ZAMG has been ISO 9001 certified since October 10, 2003 .

Research and public services

The research areas cover the areas of meteorology , climatology and geophysics . Accordingly, services are also provided in these sectors.

Synoptics and environmental meteorology

The ZAMG Synoptics department deals with the manual and automatic evaluation of satellite and radar data in the areas of remote sensing with a view to an application in forecasting . In the area of ​​numerical models, the research focuses on the further development of the weather models LAM Aladin / ALARO / AROME, which were co-developed in Austria, and the nowcasting model INCA . Furthermore, as a subordinate agency of the federal government, the Zentralanstalt is obliged to prepare daily weather forecasts and weather warnings for the Austrian federal territory and to make them freely accessible to the public. Since 2012, the ZAMG has been offering a set of data (temperature, precipitation, wind, gusts, clouds, thunderstorms) in a resolution of one hour and freely accessible down to the community level. In addition, as a weather warning service, it is closely networked with the federal and state warning centers and is involved in the European network Meteoalarm .

The ZAMG department for environmental meteorology deals, among other things, with the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere and those meteorological processes that influence the spread of pollutants . Accordingly, research is also being carried out in this direction in order to be able to better predict the spread and effects of pollutants. Also ozone forecasts and crisis model systems for nuclear accidents and their propagation include in their research or duties.

Climate observation / research

Zittelhaus and Sonnblick Observatory

One of the central tasks of the ZAMG is, among other things, to observe and research the climate in Austria. To this end, numerous research projects have been sought over the years. A network of over two hundred semi-automatic weather stations (TAWES) was also laid across Austria. Meteorological parameters such as pressure, temperature, wind, precipitation, etc. are recorded and controlled from Lake Constance to Lake Neusiedl, but also from the plains up into the mountains ( Sonnblick Observatory ). This treasure trove of data is the basis for numerous climate research (such as the HISTALP project ) and is particularly important for understanding ongoing climate change . ZAMG climate experts participate in international research projects to investigate climate change and its consequences (for example on tourism). Research and examinations in the field of domestic glaciology are also partly the responsibility of the central institute. Ice drilling and measurements of local glaciers are essential components of the research.

Geophysical services

The first geomagnetic survey of the Austro-Hungarian crown lands was carried out by Karl Kreil in the years 1846-1851. On the occasion of the earthquake in Ljubljana in Slovenia (1895), the Austrian Seismological Service, which is now operated by the ÖGD, was founded. The spectrum of tasks ranges from the processing of historical earthquakes to current measurements. Today the activities in geodynamics also include environmentally relevant geophysical questions and archaeological measurements as well as the geomagnetic recording of the entire federal territory and its changes.

International cooperation

As a state weather service, the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics endeavors to participate in international collaborations and joint research projects in its field of activity. Among other things, the Central Institute Member of WMO with the head of agency ZAMG as permanent representative of Ecomet and the European Meteorological Society . ZAMG has been a full member of EUMETSAT since 1993 .

There are also numerous collaborations in the specialist areas in which ZAMG is involved, such as CERAD , MAP , GEO , COST and ECMWF , to name just a few.

Furthermore, ZAMG operates the Europe-wide storm warning platform Meteoalarm of EUMETNET , in which all weather services of the EU and some associates are now involved.


With the highest resolution of July 23, 1851, Emperor Franz Joseph I approved the establishment of "... a Central Institute for Meteorological and Magnetic Observations", the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geomagnetism , which goes back to an initiative of the Austrian Academy of Sciences . As early as 1848, this asked Karl Kreil, director of the observatory in Prague and a real member of the academy, to design a meteorological observation system for the Austrian monarchy.

Karl Kreil (1798–1862) became the first director of the newly founded Zentralanstalt, which was initially located in Wieden , Vienna's 4th district, and at the same time professor of physics at the University of Vienna . This personal union, between the director on the one hand and the university professor on the other, has remained to this day and has had a lasting impact on scientific research at the Central Institute. Kreil set up a meteorological observation system for the area of ​​the entire Austrian monarchy and carried out the first geomagnetic land survey for it. In 1865 the Zentralanstalt began to issue a daily weather map. After 1867, when the previous entire state was divided into two monarchies of Austria-Hungary , which were connected in Real Union , the Central Authority was only responsible for Cisleithanien .

Weather observation tower of the Hann House (ZAMG Vienna) built in 1872

In 1872 the Zentralanstalt moved to the new and final quarter built by Heinrich Ferstel on the Hohe Warte (the area was incorporated into Döbling as the 19th district in 1892). In 1873 the Zentralanstalt organized the first international meteorological congress in Vienna, at which the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was founded as the forerunner of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). From 1877 the daily telegraphic weather report was issued, with a synoptic map and the forecast for the following day. The new weather report included morning observations from 60 stations from all over Europe, including 24 domestic ones.

With a decree of February 23, 1904, the entire seismic service for Austria was transferred to the Zentralanstalt, which also resulted in the change of name to the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik . In his office as director, Kreil was followed by outstanding scientists, including Julius Hann (1839-1921) and Felix Maria von Exner-Ewarten (1876-1930). If Hann's importance in climatology was global and people began to speak of an 'Austrian meteorological school' in his era - Hann also wrote the comprehensive textbook on meteorology (1901) - Exner is remembered as a great theorist and his work of dynamic meteorology (1925).

At the central institute worked among many other researchers such as Max Margules (1856–1920), co-founder of theoretical meteorology , and Victor Conrad (1876–1962), discoverer of the discontinuity in the middle of the earth's crust named after him.

Only once the tradition of the Central Institute was interrupted: After the "Anschluss" to the German Reich had to climate and weather service to Berlin moved where they the German Reich Weather Service were assumed; the central institute in Vienna was converted into a research institute.

After the Second World War, the original state was restored, and there was a considerable expansion in personnel and space at the Central Institute, which is also reflected in numerous scientific research results. In 1957 a house was acquired on the neighboring property and subsequently adapted for office purposes. Between 1967 and 1973, a radar tower, a balloon filling house and a new office building with specialist libraries were built in two construction stages on the premises of the Zentralanstalt.

From 1955 to 2016, the Earth's magnetic field was measured at the Cobenzl geomagnetic observatory .

Position of ZAMG in Austria

In addition to ZAMG, there are other weather services in Austria: Austro Control and the Armed Forces weather service . However, there are no official weather warnings , as recommended by the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations. In order to take this into account, the ZAMG is to be converted from the federal institution with partial legal capacity to a corporation under public law .

List of directors of the ZAMG

Surname date of birth Date of death Effective time
01 Karl Kreil 04/11/1798 12/21/1862 1851-1862
02 Carl Jelinek 04/23/1822 October 19, 1876 1863-1876
03 Julius of Hann 03/23/1839 10/01/1921 1877-1897
04 Josef Maria Pernter 03/15/1848 December 20, 1908 1897-1907
05 Wilhelm Trabert 09/17/1863 02/24/1921 1907-1917
06 Felix Maria von Exner-Ewarten 08/23/1876 02/07/1930 1917-1930
07 Wilhelm Matthäus Schmidt 01/21/1883 11/27/1936 1930-1936
08 Heinrich von Ficker 11/22/1881 04/29/1957 1936-1953
09 Ferdinand Steinhauser 04/05/1905 10/03/1991 1953-1976
10 Heinz Reuter 01/22/1914 05/08/1994 1976-1984
11 Peter Steinhauser 04/03/1941 1985-2004
12th Fritz Neuwirth 2004-2009
13 Ernest Rudel (Provisional Head) 2009-2010
14th Michael Staudinger 12/12/1955 since 2010

See also


  • Ch. Hammerl, W. Lenhardt, R. Steinacker, P. Steinhauser: The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics 1851 - 2001. ISBN 3-7011-7437-7 .

Web links

Commons : Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics  - collection of images, videos and audio files

ZAMG services:

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Federal institution with partial legal capacity
  2. Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics. Federal Chancellery of Austria, accessed on July 20, 2020 .
  3. Competence for weather warnings , ZAMG → News , August 24, 2012
  4. orf.at - Interferences: Out for Cobenzl Observatory . Article dated April 12, 2016, accessed April 12, 2016.
  5. ^ "Official weather warning": Act presented on ORF of July 18, 2010, accessed on July 18, 2010.
  6. Michael Staudinger - Salzburgwiki. Retrieved December 29, 2017 .


(2) Regional office SBG / OOE
(3) Regional office VBG / TIR
(4) Regional office KTN
(5) Regional office STM