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Headlines Published on 16 May 2007

Title Europe devises weather grid for entire world

Meteorological services centres in Europe and abroad are eager to collect the latest findings from the European research and development project SIMDAT. So far, the consortium SIMDAT Meteo has been focused on establishing a Virtual Global Information System Centre (VGISC) for the national meteorological services of France, Germany and the UK. With EUR 11 million in financing from the European Commission, and coordinated by the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI), SIMDAT has its sight set on speeding up the uptake of grid technologies in industry and services the world over.

Data for weather forecasts and research will neither be limited geographically nor organisationally. © Matt+
Data for weather forecasts and research will neither be limited geographically nor organisationally.
VGISC is based on grid technology and will work within the World Meteorological Organisation Information System (WIS) to offer services that are both economical and easy to use. A grid is a software system that provides industry and services, such as aerospace and meteorology, access to resources that vary, like analysis services and databases.

Led by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the SIMDAT Meteo partners developed the VGISC software that gives European and foreign meteorological communities fast and secure access to data and analysis services. But even more importantly, the software offers them a platform to store data. The upshot is that data for weather forecasts and research, among others, will neither be limited geographically nor organisationally.

VGISC will offer nations a centralised catalogue for all meteorological data sourced from different countries; this new catalogue will make their work easier and more time-efficient. The researchers say the infrastructure of this system will be based on a mesh network of peers and meteorological databases. Algorithms based on mobile telephony technologies and metadata synchronisation on a journalised file system will be used to ensure the exchange of messages. VGISC will also be a test bed for the ISO 19115 metadata standard; it will handle data in real time.

SIMDAT is the result of strong European know-how and effort. It will be instrumental in building the infrastructure technology of WIS, as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revamps and improves its established Global Telecommunications System (GTS) – a global network which allows the interchange of mainly meteorological data and warnings in real time. But until now, GTS offers access only to the present national weather services of member states. The new system will be accessible for all environmental communities across the globe.

Teaming up to develop the VGISC software were the groups ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), DWD, Météo France, the UK Met Office and EUMETSAT, as well as other SIMDAT partners. SIMDAT Meteo is a consortium that includes 25 European companies and research centres.

More information:

  • Fraunhofer SCAI
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