With the use of satellites monitoring the weather and climate of the Earth, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States.
ECMWF is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states.
Back in 1975, Belgium was one of the 18 founding states. Over the years many other states have decided to join the Centre. Currently it counts 22 Member States and 12 Co-operating States.
EMCWF’s most prominent activity is the production and dissemination of global numerical weather prediction data to its Member States as a 24/7 operational service, but it is also very active in weather and climate research, and has gathered a massive catalogue of forecast data which can be purchased by businesses and commercial customers the world over. For its activities it makes use of one of the largest supercomputers of its kind in Europe. Moreover, 25% of the computer’s processing capacity can be used by Member States for their own purposes.
ECMWF's core mission is to:
- produce numerical weather forecasts and monitor the Earth-system;
- carry out scientific and technical research to improve forecast skill;
- maintain an archive of meteorological data.
To deliver this core mission, the Centre provides:
- twice-daily global numerical weather forecasts;
- air quality analysis;
- atmospheric composition monitoring;
- climate monitoring;
- ocean circulation analysis;
- hydrological prediction.