Grand Opening of the ESSL Research and Training Centre
On 21 June 2012, the ESSL Research and Training Centre celebrated its Grand Opening 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 organisations.
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 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 in Geneva in 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 eventually opened the Research and Training Centre. Subsequently, hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served to ESSL’s guests.
ESSL staff, partners and guests from left to right: Alois M. Holzer (ESSL Director of Operations), Dimitar Ivanov (Chief of the World Meteorological Organisation), 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).
Guests listening to the speeches during the Grand Opening. Guests from left to right: Dr. Fritz Neuwirth (President of the Austrian Meteorological Society), Dr. Kathrin Riemann-Campe (ESSL Deputy Director), Alois M. Holzer (ESSL Director of Operations), Mag. Barbara Dunst (Chief of EcoNova Wiener Neustadt), BA Bernhard Müller (Mayor of the city of Wiener Neustadt), Stefan Krawelicki (Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of German Mission).
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).