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Welcoming the ECMWF in Bonn

By Anne-Sophie Werner, ECMWF Team, German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Opening of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Bonn.

Best known for the most accurate global medium-range, monthly and seasonal forecasts, the ECMWF has joined Bonn’s vibrant international community. The first employees already relocated to temporary offices at the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in September 2021. From 2025 onwards, the ECMWF will then move to its new, custom-built campus in Bad Godesberg which can accommodate up to 250 staff. 

About the ECMWF

The ECMWF is an independent international organisation supported by 23 European member states and 11 cooperating states. It is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service offering its products to national weather services and thereby complementing domestic activities. Moreover, it carries out the Climate Change Service (C3S) as well as the Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) within the framework of the European Union’s Copernicus Programme – the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. In the future, the ECMWF will also be part of another major EU project called “Destination Earth” which foresees the creation of a digital twin of the Earth. This digital Earth model could then be used to monitor, simulate and evaluate the environmental and human impact on our planet. 

About the Relocation

Following EU requirements, the ECMWF needed a post-Brexit European location in order to continue those EU-related activities. Together with several other German ministries and actors (including the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community and its executive agencies (BMI), the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the German Foreign Office (AA), the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn) the Federal Ministry for Transport and digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has come up with a competitive offer which won the approval of the ECMWF Council. With the prospect of a state-of-the-art campus and conference centre, the high-density of world-class scientific institutions and the close proximity to the rest of Europe, the new premises are ideally suited for the ECMWF to thrive in its present and future activities.  

On the German side, the BMVI is in charge for ensuring a smooth relocation. At the BMVI, the head of the Meteorology, German Weather Service, Earth Observations Department Prof. Dr. Hans Moser and ECMWF task force lead Dr. Gisela Seuffert and their team are responsible for coordinating and integrating all relevant stakeholders in the process. Looking back on the past several months, Prof. Dr. Moser emphasizes the unprecedent uniqueness of the situation: “With the application for the ECMWF’s new location we have been entering unchartered territory. Without any precedent project for orientation, we were rather free to develop a comprehensive offer which meets both our and the ECMWF’s high standards”.

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