ECMWF History

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) was established in 1975. Its purpose – then as now – was to pool Europe's meteorological resources to produce accurate climate data and medium-range forecasts. The project was created by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), which supported co-operation between scientists and technicians in Europe. The UK won a bid to host the Centre, thanks to the proximity of its proposed site to the UK Met Office and the University of Reading.

1971-12-09 00:00:00

Convention established

The first draft of the ECMWF Convention was considered on 9 and 10 December 1971, with 32 senior representatives from 14 of the 18 founding States attending. The Convention was signed in 1973 and came into force on 1 November 1975. Its creation set up the centre as an independent intergovernmental organisation.

1973-10-11 00:00:00

Convention signed

The Convention set up the Centre as an independent international organisation.

1974-01-01 00:00:00

Professor Dr Aksel Wiin-Nielsen, Director

A Danish national, Professor Askel Wiin-Nielsen was ECMWF’s first Director from 1 January 1974 to 31 December 1979. He put ECMWF on track to become a world leader in global numerical weather prediction.

1974-01-01 00:00:00

Dr E. Süssenberger, Council President


1975-11-01 00:00:00

Co-operation Agreement with WMO

Co-operation agreement

1975-11-01 00:00:00

Convention enters into force

Having been ratified by 13 Member States, the ECMWF Convention entered into force on 1 November 1975 and the Centre became an intergovernmental organisation in its own right.

1975-11-04 00:00:00

First Member States

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom deposited their instruments of ratification.

1975-11-04 00:00:00

First ECMWF Council session

The first session of the Council was held from 4 to 6 November 1975.

1976-01-01 00:00:00


Member State

1976-01-01 00:00:00

CDC6600, Bracknell Met Office site

ECMWF supercomputer history. In order to run weather forecast models within a schedule that has reasonably short timeslots, powerful supercomputer systems are required. The first version of the ECMWF weather forecasting model was developed on a Control Data Corporation 6600 computer from 1976 to 1978.

ECMWF History

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