The Austrian Weather Service English Language Essay


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The first presentation was given by Dr. Christophe Matulla. He talked about the weather, the climate and how the climate may change. The second presentation was given by Dr. August Kaiser, who talked about air pollutants in the atmosphere. The last presentation was given by Dr. Christa Hammerl. She talked about her study of the four strongest historical earthquakes in the Tyrolean region.

\section{History of \cap{zamg}}

The Austrian weather service was founded in 1851 by Franz Joseph von Habsburg \cite[Matulla]. Karl Kreil (1798-1862), Professor of physics at the University of Vienna, was the first director of the Central Institute. In 1865 the Central Institute started to publish a daily weather map. \cite[site]

In 1872 the Central Institute moved to the present location, Hohe Warte 38 designed by architect Heinrich Ferstel. In 1904 the entire seismic service transferred to the Central Institute and the name changed into Zentralanstalt f�r Meteorologie und Geodynamik, \cap{zamg}. \cite[site]

At the moment that Austria joined the Germans, the climate and weather services moved to Berlin and the ZAMG in Vienna was turned into a research institute. After the Second World War it was restored to it's original state and there was an expansion of the institute, with among else a radar tower, a house for the balloons and a new office building that includes one of the largest libraries in the knowledge of meteorology and geophysics. \cite[site]

Today the \cap{zamg} is, with its regional offices, a modern service operation for among else daily forecast service. The geophysical department conducts the earthquake and geomagnetic service. The climatology department uses the findings from the Austrain monitoring network data, climate statistics and maps to study the Austrian climate. \cite[site]


In the first presentation Dr. Christophe Matulla told about climatology and the questions they want to answer: \cite[Matulla]


\item The climate system, what is it made of and what fundamental processes drive it and how can they be estimated for the past and the future?

\item What do we know about the climate of the past?

\item Can we talk about the future climate and what assumptions we need?


A main question in the climatology is \quote{how did the weather change in de past and how does the weather change in the future}.

In 1760 humanity began with climatology and only since then there is data for research. In graphs wherein the temperature in the Alpine Region is plotted in time we can see an average temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius in the last fifty years and it varies by 2,5 degrees Celsius in de Alpine Region in the last 1250 years \cite[Matulla]. The major volcano eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 led to a summer with temperatures that are 0,5 - 0,7 degrees Celsius lower than normal in 1816 because incoming radiation from the sun was blocked through the ashes in the atmosphere.

Climatologists try to find different possible scenarios. A scenario is a consistent description of a probable evolution of what mankind may go through in the decades to come \cite[Matulla]. A scenario can happen; it is not necessarily the most probable solution. There are much different influences on a scenario, human influences (I buy two cars instead of one for example) or political influences, such as regulations on the level of carbon dioxide emissions.


{The scenario tree \cite[Matulla]}


Using the \cap{sres} (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) of the IPCC tree of scenarios ensures that different possible scenarios be examined (See figure \in[figure1]). In the IPCC tree of scenarios are four different scenarios, A1, A2, B1 and B2 (See table \in[table1]).


{Different scenarios in the IPCC tree of scenarios \cite{Matulla}}



\NC Scenario \NC Definition \NR


\NC A1 \NC A world of rapid economic growth and rapid introduction of new and more efficient technology \NR \HL

\NC A2 \NC A very heterogeneous world with an emphasis on family values and local traditions \NR \HL

\NC B1 \NC A world of \quote{dematerialization} and introduction of clean technologies \NR \HL

\NC B2 \NC A world with an emphasis on local solutions to economic and environmental sustainability \NR



To say something more accurately for one region we can zoom in, that is called downscaling \cite[Matulla]. Some parameters become more important by downscaling, for example the number of cars in a region and the energy consumption, which is different for Vienna and the Sahara desert. Another interesting parameter are phenological processes \cite[Matulla], such as de date of the first snow in the winter.

The conclusions of Matulla are: \cite[Matulla]


\item Human made climate change is real and cannot be entirely avoided.

\item Presently we see climate change taking place in temperature related parameters.

\item Climate change is to unfold more and more clearly in the decades to come.

\item Climate and weather is dangerous already and is going to stay so in the future.


It is important that we talk about how to cope with climate change and how we can keep it under control. \cite[Matulla]

\section{Environmental Meteorology}

Dr. August Kaiser gave a presentation about the dispersion of air pollutants in the atmosphere, air pollutant modeling and activities of the department for environmental meteorology.

The dispersion of air pollutants can happen by emission, transmission and immission \cite[Kaiser]. Human activities (such as industry, power plants and the traffic) and natural sources (such as dust storms, forest fires and volcanic eruptions) contribute to the release of air pollutants into the atmosphere by emission \cite[Kaiser]. If many air pollutants are in the atmosphere then transmission becomes more important we can transmission divide into transmission by wind and dilution by turbulent mixing. In transport ny wind we can see different patterns in the atmosphere because the wind may change with space and with height above ground \cite[Kaiser].

In dilution by turbulent mixing we can distinguish instable and stable stratification. If temperature increases more than 1 degree Celsius per 100 meter we talk about instable stratification and there is strong vertical mixing, if temperature increases with less than 1 degree Celsius per 100 meter we talk about stabile stratification and there is a reduced vertical mixing effect \cite[Kaiser]. The \cap{zamg} can measure the vertical structure of the atmosphere by a radioprobe (twice a day), a tethered balloon (a balloon which is tethered to the ground and raised and lowered by a winch), an ultra-sonic anemometer (which direct measures the turbulence) and a sodar-RASS (which measures vertical temperature and wind profiles) \cite[Kaiser].

For the simulation of air pollutants Kaiser and the \cap{zamg} use three kinds of models, wherein they make their own models: (1) the Gaussian, (2) the Lagrangian and (3) the Eulerian model. In the first model the assumptions are homogeneous turbulence, stationary conditions and only simple chemical reactions. In the second model the assumptions are that the plume is a cloud of particles, temporal and spatial variability of the wind, turbulence as an additional stochastic component and only simple reactions. In the Eulerian model the assumptions that physical equations are solved in time steps for grid volumes, complex meteorology and chemical reactions which leads to high computing effort. \cite[Kaiser]

Kaiser prefers the more simple models but the new models of today become more and more complex. With, for example, the ALADIN model (\cap{zamg}) and the CAMx model (Boku\footnote{University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.}) the \cap{zamg} and Boku try to make a forecast of the ozone evolution in the atmosphere \cite[Kaiser]. Models can also be used as a warning system, for example in the case of the nuclear accidents in Fukushima.

\section{Historical Earthquakes}

The third presentation was given by Dr. Christa Hammerl and was dedicated to historical earthquakes. In the \cap{hareia} (Historical And Recent Earthquakes in Italy and Austria) project different regions worked together from 2009 until the spring of 2012 to re-examine historical earthquakes \cite[Hammerl]. The \cap{zamg} was one of the collaborators in the project and did research on the four strongest historical earthquakes in Tyrol\footnote{Tyrol is one of the most seismic active regions of Austria.}, see Table \in[table2]. The definition of the magnitude scale is: \quote{(7) Damaging: Most people are frightened and run outdoors. Furniture is shifted and objects fall from shelves in large numbers. Many well built ordinary buildings suffer moderate damage: small cracks in walls, fall of plaster, parts of chimneys fall down; older buildings may show large cracks in walls and failure of fill-in walls and (8) Heavily damaging: Many people find it difficult to stand. Many houses have large cracks in walls.

A few well built ordinary buildings show serious failure of walls, while weak older structures may collapse.}


{Earthquakes under investigation \cite{Hammerl}}



\NC Year \NC Month \NC Day \NC Epicenter \NC Magnitude \NR


\NC 1571 \NC 11 \NC 01 \NC Innsbruck \NC 7 \NR


\NC 1572 \NC 01 \NC 04 \NC Innsbruck \NC 8 \NR


\NC 1670 \NC 07 \NC 17 \NC Hall \NC 8 \NR


\NC 1689 \NC 12 \NC 22 \NC Innsbruck \NC 8 \NR



Hammerl investigated the earthquakes in 1571 and 1670. There are three steps in her research:


\item The first step is to make family trees. That is like a regular family tree with your grandmother, father, yourself and your children etcetera, but then with information about the earthquake. If you read a book over the 1571 earthquake and in that book you find another information source over the 1571 earthquake, then that is a 'child' of that book.

\item The second step is to make source criticisms, so that we get data points out of the sources, localities of the earthquake.

\item In the third step we want macro-seismic points so we can map the earthquake parameters.



{Flow Chart of methods of Historical Eartquake Research \cite[article]}


After the research Hammerl concluded that the 1571 earthquake was fake \cite[Hammerl]. The 1670 earthquake was one of the most damaging earthquakes in the Tyrolean area and was best documented in contemporary sources and had magnitude 8 \cite[Hammerl]. The other two earthquakes (in 1572 and 1689) are downscaled in magnitude after the research to 6-7 respectively 7-8 \cite[Hammerl]. Research like this is important for engineers who designed and built new buildings in the Tyrolean region.


After the presentations Verena Hirss took us to an old weather house (see figure \in[figure3]) and we saw the weather balloon lift up in the air (see figure \in[figure4]). First we went to a little white house with slits wherein wind and temperature measurements were made. It was white because white reflects the sunlight and slits because the wind must come inside.


{Hirss told us about the thermometer.}



{The weather balloon}


Inside are two thermometers and a wind velocity meter. The thermometer for the maximum temperature has quicksilver inside. Quicksilver expands by heating and the liquid quicksilver then push a bar to a higher temperature level. The bar stays at the same place as the temperature becomes lower and the quicksilver loses volume. The thermometer may not be horizontal with regard to gravity because otherwise the quicksilver level will be flat in the thermometer. The minimum thermometer has alcohol instead of quicksilver inside because quicksilver might freeze.

Then we went to the weather balloon, which cost �180,- each. The balloon must be filled by hydrogen or helium, because it must be lighter than air. The \cap{zamg} uses hydrogen, because helium is too expensive but a disadvantage of hydrogen is that it is very explosive. The balloon is 1,80 meter in diameter and becomes 10 to 20 times bigger in the air. The \cap{zamg} has a tower the follow the balloon by emitting radio signals and a silver-colored object with the shape of a cross reflects them back. The balloon is also followed by a GPS system with four satellites, because it is important to know where the weather balloon is, for example for airplanes. Sixty meters below the balloon hangs the measurement equipment because the balloon expands in the higher part of the atmosphere. This equipment measures the temperature, humidity, pressure and with the \cap{gps} information the wind direction and speed can be measured. The \cap{zamg} measures two times a day with a weather balloon, at 12:00 \cap{utc}\footnote{\cap{utc} is almost equal to Greenwich Mean Time. It is only corrected by some leap seconds for Earth rotation.} and 24:00 \cap{utc}. It takes thirty minutes before the balloon is in the measurement zone so the \cap{zamg} let up the balloon a half an hour earlier.




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