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The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute has been in operation since 1919

Full knowledge about conditions prevailing in the atmosphere and hydrosphere as well as reliable meteo-hydrological forecasting underpin the activities towards reducing any effects of severe natural phenomena. Efficient battle with nature forces and protection against their devastating power are possible thanks to information properly gathered, used and elaborated. It is extremely important for these data to reach appropriate authorities in time.


Since 1919, the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute (IMGW-PIB) has warned our society against hazardous natural phenomena occurring in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.  Thanks to observational-measurement network covering the whole territory of Poland an enormous amount of data necessary to elaborate analyses, forecasts, warnings and expertises is gathered. These data form the basis for research carried out in meteorology, climatology, hydrology, oceanology, environmental protection and other fields associated with atmosphere and hydrosphere. Credible and widespread information serves the whole society. Although, it is difficult to list all users of these data. One of the most important recipients of forecasts, warnings as well as hydrological and meteorological information are emergency management services. Data is provided to the regional and local authorities, and most importantly to the National Rescue Coordination and Public Protection Centre with the Fire Brigade High Command. On the basis of information received, among others from IMGW-PIB, preparedness messages or alerts for the bodies responsible directly for safety of the state and its citizens are issued. These materials are necessary to plan and carry out rescue operations as well as to make decisions on resources and means allocation to the threatened areas.


It would be also difficult to imagine any rescue operation at sea as well as maritime, aviation or road transportation without using updates received from the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute.


The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute is a research and development unit established by the Act no. 338/72 of the Council of Ministers of 30 December 1972 on merging the State Hydrological

and Meteorological Institute with the Institute of Water Management. IMGW-PIB is supervised by the Minister of the Environment. According to the provisions of the Water Law dated 18 July 2001, the State Hydrological and Meteorological Service implements governmental duties in the field of hydrological and meteorological protection of society, economy and balance of surface water resources.



Objective and scope of activities

The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute provides the public, government (central and regional administration), economy as well as its customers with the highest quality products in the field of meteorology, hydrology and water management.


The important position of IMGW-PIB in the structures responsible for safety of the economy and citizens as well as that in the Polish science results from:

- knowledge and experience gathered

during over 91 years of its existence

-  advanced technical and IT infrastructure

-  highly qualified teams of experts

-  effective organisational and management methods

-  offer covering over 1000 specialised products.


In its operational, research and development works IMGW-PIB uses modern, fully automated telemetric and teledetection techniques when running its supercomputer.

IMGW PIB operates hydrological and meteorological models as well as models to track air pollution transport. The results of measurements, observations and outputs of numerical models are collected in the specialised computer databases.



The most efficient weather forecast

The Central Meteorological Forecasting Office (CBPM) is responsible for coordination of IMGW-PIB forecasting activities in the field of meteorological short, medium and long-range forecasts. It elaborates general and specialised meteorological forecasts and warnings for the whole country, it consults forecasts and warnings issued by the regional forecasting offices. For this purpose CBPM makes analyses of data on the atmosphere state derived from any available within the Global Observation System of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) observational-measurement systems such as synoptic, upper-air, radar, lightning detection stations as well as those polar orbiting and geostationary meteorological and environmental satellites. Weather forecasts are made on the basis of outputs of numerical weather forecasting models on the global and regional scales available within WMO Global Data Processing System. Weather forecasts for the Polish territory are prepared basing on outputs of mezoscale COSMO and ALADIN models calculated at IMGW-PIB.


Increasing amount of available information on the state of the atmosphere and natural environment as well as experience gathered by teams of weather forecasters and research staff developing methods of meteorological forecasting ensure continuous improvement of forecasts and warnings verifiability, especially in the extreme situations.


The Central Aviation Forecasting Office (CBPL) coordinates IMGW-PIB activities within meteorological protection of civil aviation, it analyses data derived from the World Area Forecasting System (WAFS), data gathered by the measurement systems and aviation observations, elaborates forecasts and messages for planes crews, prepares maps of dangerous for aviation atmospheric phenomena. The Office cooperates with regional forecasting offices and aviation meteorological stations at all airports all over the country.


The Central Hydrological Forecasting Office monitors and predicts physical processes occurring in the hydrosphere over Poland and supervises the protection countrywide. Hydrological and meteorological data derived from IMGW signalling measurement network, meteorological forecasts and out-puts of ALADIN and COSMO mesoscale models provide the basis for operation of the Central Hydrological Forecasting Office and regional hydrological forecasting offices. Derived information is used routinely to analyse current hydrological situation, to elaborate every day forecasts. In the case of flood threat they are used to issue hydrological communicates and warnings. For protection reasons the Institute's units transmit hydrological information to the concerned recipients, that is to governmental central, regional and local authorities, media, public and private firms.


Observational-measurement system covers the territory of Poland

Basic observational-measurement network of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute consists of 61 hydrological and meteorological stations, 3 (upper air) aerological stations equipped with advanced fully automated sounding system, 8 aviation meteorological stations, 8 weather radar systems, satellite data receiving station, network of 9 sensors for lightning detection and location. Apart from standard synoptic measurements many stations carry out extended research programme making measurements of chemical contamination and radioactive pollution of the atmosphere, actinometric, evaporation, ground temperature and catathermometric measurements. The important role in recording the states of the atmosphere is played by the network of meteorological, precipitation, heliographic posts and totalizer rain gauges. Many commercial ships as well as research BALTICA vessel make meteorological and oceanological observations necessary to work out forecasts and maritime warnings. Almost 800 water gauges located on rivers and lakes as well as at the Baltic Sea coastal area make signalling for hydrological forecasting.


Precipitation height and snow cover depth are measured by over 970 precipitation posts, out of which 150 make everyday signalling. The network of automated meteorological and hydrological stations derives data from over 1000 telemetric posts operating automatically and equipped with multi-optional communication systems enabling data gathering with necessary at given situation time step.


These posts make possible continuous automatic monitoring of water state in rivers, precipitation height, wind speed and direction as well as air temperature and its humidity. Their location enables to track these elements all over the country.  One of IMGW-PIB measurement system elements are three aerological stations making twice daily measurements of atmosphere parameters in vertical profile (temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction). Upper air sonde in good weather conditions reaches 30 km, while receiving systems record atmosphere parameters at the height of radiosonde flight. They process automatically and transmit measurement results. Once a week measurements of vertical profile of ozone content are made at the Legionowo station near Warsaw.



The POLRAD weather radar network

The POLRAD weather radar network operated by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute includes eight advanced Doppler radar units controlled from the Centre of Ground Based Remote Sensing responsible for remote control and supervision of their work, receipt of radar data, processing and making them available to users. The weather radar system is used to detect such atmospheric phenomena like clouds, precipitation, system zones and front movement as well as thunderstorms. It allows to detect these phenomena and objects with high time and space resolution.


Radar data are used by weather forecasters, meteorologists and hydrologists to analyse precipitation zones, their intensity and speed of development as well as to forecast these phenomena. Combination of radar and satellite observations, data derived from meteorological posts and stations with outputs of numerical meteorological models enable to elaborate short-range forecasts of weather phenomena, especially to work out quantitative precipitation forecasts.



The system for lightning detection and localisation PERUN

The system comprises nine sensors, from where data are transmitted in real time by IMGW-PIB teleinformatic network to the unit located at the Centre of Ground Based Remote Sensing. The system time and spacewise detects and locates cloud to ground and cloud to cloud lightning.


Moreover, it makes possible to measure fluctuations of electric field caused by lightning, to measure increase and fadeout time of lightning current wave. Processed data are transmitted to the forecasting offices and to IMGW PIB website. Combination of lightning detection and localisation system with the radar and forecasting systems enables to assess and forecast very precisely the threat of extreme phenomena such as thunderstorms and associated cloud bursts, lightning strokes to industrial buildings, power transmission grids as well as to estimate credibly their effects (forestand building fires, aviation events).


Teleinformation system

Crucial and decisive elements for the Service operation are reliability and timely manner of data collecting and their processing as well as information transmittion to the recipients. Implementation of these tasks requires reliable and real time teleinformation system. The system is based on teleinformation links built in frame relay technology with 2 Mbps for each relation. It connects IMGW-PIB Headquarters with meteorological and hydrological forecasting offices. To this end digital leased links have been employed. In case of breakdown of basic channel, satellite links ensure emergency communication. Digital channels have been linked to the backbone network reaching hydrological, meteorological and aviation meteorological stations. Data derived from measurement network are transmitted to WMO Global Telecommunications System, where data are received from WMO Global Observation System and Global Data Processing System necessary for functioning of hydrological and meteorological service. Servers are doubled to ensure safety of the system and reliability of applications installed on them. At the IMGW-PIB Headquarters four servers operate connected into one cluster. Users receive information through IMGW-PIB website at or they can get access to IMGW-PIB databases with a password and associated information. The safety of IMGW PIB computer network is ensured by implementation of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).



Customer Service System

Customer Service System (SOK) is used to distribute data and products made by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute. The Institute has multilevel structure of recipients, starting from public recipient of basic forecasts through the Internet and other media, recipients of specialised forecasts of economic importance (land, sea and aviation transport, agriculture, municipal services, construction industry), to forecasts and warnings with significant importance for society, economy and national safety (floods, hurricanes, storms, cloud bursts, rapid temperature changes).



Supercomputer and numerical weather models

Supercomputer with 100 processors installed in the IMGW-PIB Headquarters in Warsaw makes calculations of two mathematic meteorological models: local non-hydrostatic COSMO model calculating forecasts with 78-hour lead time as well as ALADIN model making forecasts 48-hours ahead. Both models are put in operation twice daily. Data are used at meteorological and hydrological forecasting offices as well as they are displayed on IMGW-PIB websites. Data derived from the models are necessary for IMGW-PIB to prepare numerous both standard as well as specialised weather forecasts.


IMGW forecasting and warnings system

System of data processing, forecasting and warning covers the Central Meteorological Forecasting Office, Central Aviation Forecasting Office, Central Hydrological Forecasting Office and 7 regional meteorological and hydrological offices, operational and historical database system, numerical, statistic and  conceptual forecasting models (both meteorological as well as hydrological ones), data, warnings and forecasts dissemination system to the central and regional  decision-making (management) and emergency authorities as well as to other users.


Meteorological and hydrological forecasts and warnings are prepared by central and regional meteorological and hydrological offices on the basis of COSMO and ALADIN meteorological mezoscale models outputs calculated on SGI Origin 3800 supercomputer as a result of broad international cooperation.


Numerical weather forecasting systems have been developed for many years. Numerical mesoscale forecasting systems are characterised by large, when compared to other available models, time and space resolution. Currently forecasting calculations are made at IMGW-PIB with 17x17 km grid and time step of a dozen or so minutes. Therefore, the model makes possible objective forecasting of atmospheric phenomena properly located in time and space. Its important characteristic is the possibility of quantitative phenomena forecasting such as precipitation, wind speed and vertical currents. Works leading to make calculations on a grid of 2,5 x 2,5 km are underway.


The digital satellite receiving data system installed in Cracow ensures receiving and processing of data derived from new generation satellites. High data frequency (every 15 minutes), high space resolution and 12 spectral channels enable to use efficiently satellite data both in diagnosis process as well as meteorological and hydrological forecasting and in other fields like natural environment monitoring, climate research, warning against waters pollution, forest fires etc. Modern Hydrological System enables to forecast water states in water gauges profiles and in locations where appropriate geological cross-outs have been made. Hydrological forecasts contain among other parameters determination of date and pick flood wave height.



Dam Monitoring Service

Dam Monitoring Service (TKZ) is responsible for making comprehensive measurements of movements and deformations of damming structures, tensions in structures corps, changes of bed and river channels of reservoirs as well as many others associated with the safety of these structures. Every year a report on technical state and safety for over 200 damming structures is prepared along with comprehensive report on the state of main damming structures in Poland.




The statutory tasks of IMGW-PIB include research in the fields of its responsibility. The research is directed mainly to create scientific background for observations, data gathering and processing, numerical modelling in meteorology and hydro-logy as well as use of radar and satellite data.


IMGW PIB units carry out research works in the field of climatology, atmosphere physics, actinometry, aerology, agrometeorology, air pollution, measurement instruments, meteorological and hydrological forecasting, oceanology. Moreover, the IMGW-PIB staff prepares expert opinions and advices for the economy.


International cooperation

IMGW-PIB in the process of implementation the conventions ratified by Poland, first of all that with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Organization of International Civil Aviation (ICAO) and Safety of Life and Property at Sea (SOLAS), cooperates with the European and international meteorological and hydrometeorological services.


The cooperation is based on continuous exchange of data and coordination of activities in order to ensure that results of works are compatible, exchange of forecasting products and warnings, common development and implementation of large application and research projects. Poland's accession to the European Union, its membership in the European Organization for the Exploitation of the Meteorological Satellites EUMETSAT, participation in the activities of the consortia for numerical weather modelling ALADIN and COSMO as well as in many other programmes, mainly European ones, create new opportunities.


Poland being one of 45 founding countries of the World Meteorological Organization from the beginning of its activities has been both its active member as well as beneficiary of research and technical programmes of the Organization. Polish Hydrological and Meteorological Service operates large advanced and well equipped observational-measurement network, data processing systems, telecommunication and forecasting/warning systems as well as it employs highly qualified staff.


Hence, the Polish Service contributes significantly to the programme of the World Weather Watch and to other WMO programmes. Thanks to above mentioned opportunities the Polish Service can access global and regional data, satellite data and weather forecasts as well as other products prepared by specialised WMO regional centres. IMGW-PIB representatives participate in the debates of WMO Congress. At the Congress convened in 2003 the VI Long-Term Plan was approved concerning such strategic domains in the activities of WMO as life and property safety, improvement of safety of aviation, maritime and land transport, improvement of life conditions, continuous and sustainable economical development, protection of natural environment, increase of efficiency in WMO activities. The programme is efficiently implemented at IMGW-PIB.


Since 2009 Poland has been EUMETSAT Member State. As a result, the State Hydrological and Meteorological Service has full access to digital data and data processed from EUMETSAT meteorological satellites as well as those used by other operators.


The Organization carries out also training courses. Since EUMETSAT appreciates advanced digital data receiving and processing system and experienced IMGW-PIB research and technical staff, it offers Poland organisation of such courses in Poland. The IMGW representatives attend the seminars convened by EUMETSAT. IMGW-PIB participates in the implementation of many national and international research programmes and projects such as HELCOM or COST projects.