Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics

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Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik
Agency overview
Formed 1851
Jurisdiction Austria Austrian Federal Government
Headquarters Hohe Warte, Vienna
Agency executive
Parent agency Federal Ministry of Science and Research
Website www.zamg.ac.at

The Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics (German: Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, ZAMG) is the national meteorological and geophysical service of Austria.

It is a subordinate agency of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research. The ZAMG headquarters are located in Vienna, with regional offices in Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Klagenfurt.

ZAMG was founded in 1851 and is the oldest weather service in the world. Its task is not only to operate monitoring networks and conduct research in various fields, but also to make the results available to the public.


ZAMG headquarters by night

The Hohe Warte in the Döbling district of Vienna is the headquarters of the Institution and is the regional office for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. Other regional ZAMG offices are:

Other ZAMG facilities and observatories are:

The grounds of the Institution has a radar tower. This office building is now home to a large meteorology and geophysics library.


Today, ZAMG, as a semi-autonomous institution, is a modern service provider. ZAMG is divided into departments, including the following:

  • The synoptic scale metrology department is responsible for providing daily forecasting services using modern technology.
  • The geophysics department provides information on earthquakes and the geomagnetic field.
  • The climate department uses data obtained from the Austrian Monitoring Network to create climate statistics and maps. This department also conducts research into Austria's climate and how it is changing, which includes work on glaciology.
  • The technical department is in charge of the meteorological monitoring network, which consists of semi-automatic weather detection systems (TAWES stations) and semi-automatic climate stations (TAKLIS stations).
  • The environmental meteorology department studies the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere. One of its tasks is to provide the government with information in the event of a crisis (e.g. radioactivity into the atmosphere).
  • The data processing department uses the latest equipment to manage the extensive computer-controlled processes.


One of ZAMG's key tasks is to observe and explore the climate in Austria. A network of over two hundred semi-automatic weather stations (TAWES) throughout Austria is in place for this purpose. Meteorological parameters such as pressure, temperature, wind and precipitation are recorded from Lake Constance to Lake Neusiedl, and from the plains to the mountains (Sonnblick Date Observatory). This data is the basis for climate research and is particularly important for understanding current climate change.

Synoptic scale and environmental metrology[edit]

The synoptic scale metrology department deals with areas of remote sensing, using manual and automatic interpretation of satellite and radar data to make forcasts. In the field of numerical models, research focuses on the development of LAM Aladin, as in the new development of nowcasting model INCA.


The environmental meteorology department deals with the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere and the meteorological processes that affect the spread of polltants. This is one of the priorities of the department's applied research in this area.


The first regional geomagnetic survey of the Austrio-Hungarian crown lands was conducted by Karl Kreil in 1846–1851. On the occasion of the earthquake in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1895, the Austrian Seismological Service was founded. Since then, research has been carried out continuously in both fields. Today's activities include geophysical and environmental issues.


Julius-Hann-Haus, Hohe Warte, Vienna

In July 1851 Emperor Franz Joseph approved the establishment of "a central institution for meteorological and magnetic observations", the Central Institution for Meteorology and Earth Magnetism, which dates back to an initiative of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. This sent the request in 1848 to Karl Kreil, director of the observatory at Prague, and full member of the Academy, a meteorological observation system for the Austrian monarchy designing.

Karl Kreil (1798–1862) became the first director of the newly-founded Central Institution of Wieden, and also professor of physics at the University of Vienna. This personal union between one hand and Director of University Teachers on the other, remained to this day and lasting influence on the scientific research at the Central Institution. Kreil set up a meteorological observation system for the entire territory of the Austrian monarchy and carried out for this also the first country geomagnetic recording. 1865, began at the Central Institution with the publication of a daily weather map.

1872 moved to Central in it, from Henry Ferstel built, new and final quarters of the Hohe Warte in Vienna Dobling. A year later, in 1873, the Central Institution organized the first international meteorological congress in Vienna, founded the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) as a precursor of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

In 1877 the output of daily telegraphic weather reports carried out, with a synoptic map and the forecast for the next day. The new report contained the morning of 60 observation stations from all over Europe, including 24 domestic ones.

By decree of 23 February 1904, was transferred to the Central Institution for the entire seismic Austria, which took the name change to Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics after him.

In his position as Director Kreil followed by outstanding scientists, including Julius Hann (1839–1921) and Felix Maria von Exner (1876–1930). Hanns was important in climatology and a world-wide began to be in his era as one, meteorologists Austrian school — Hann also wrote the Comprehensive Textbook of Meteorology (1901) talking about — that one remembers Exner as a great theorist and his work of Dynamic Meteorology (1925).

Many other researchers such as Max Margules (1856–1920), founder of theoretical meteorology and Victor Conrad (1876–1962), discoverer of the discontinuity in the middle of the crust named after him, worked at the Institution.

Only once did the tradition of the Central Institution was cut short after the annexation of Austria into the German Reich in climate and weather had to be relocated to Berlin, where it to the German Reich Meteorological were placed, and the Central Institution in Vienna in order to be transformed into a research institution.

After World War II the Institution was restored to its original state and there was a considerable human and geographic expansion of the Central Institution, which also reflected in the numerous scientific research. In 1957 a house on the neighboring property was purchased and subsequently adapted for office use; between 1967 and 1973 a radar tower, a balloon-filling house and a new office building including specialised libraries were built at the site of the Central Institution.

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