The city of Barcelona is closer to being a new headquarters for the European Prediction Center (ECMWF), as reported today by both the Barcelona City Council and the Aemet, which maintain secrecy about which are the other finalists. Barcelona came first in the technical phase, according to a tweet of the socialist MEP Javi López. Initially, 10 countries had asked to host the new headquarters, one of which is Germany, which aspired to locate the new headquarters of the organization in Bonn. Both the City Council and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition have published tweets announcing Barcelona among the finalists; there have been no similar posts in other countries or cities.
The ECMWF is one of the most important meteorological centers in the world and is responsible for the European forecasting model, recognized by the meteorological community as the most reliable on a global scale. The ECMWF also hosts the Copernicus Earth Observation program, which is primarily devoted to climate change research.
In the new ECMWF headquarters, some 150 people would work in an initial phase, with the possibility that they would end up being 250. According to sources from the City Council, the possible location of the new headquarters in Barcelona has already been decided, but it is not planned to make it public until the final decision, to be resolved on December 9. One of the strengths of Barcelona’s candidacy is the presence in the city of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which is currently working on several ECMWF projects.
Only the meteorological services of the member states of the European Union are part of the European Center. Thus, for example, the State Meteorological Agency is a full member, while Meteocat is prohibited from enjoying some of its privileges. The Meteorological Service of Catalonia cannot use the highest resolution models, and some of the data that they do receive, always do so with a certain delay, according to the director of Meteocat, Eliseu Vilaclara, when the candidacy was made official in the month of May. Beyond the current headquarters in Reading, in 2017 the European Prediction Center also announced the location of a data center in Bologna.