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Trusted Spotter Network Austria

Trusted Spotter Network Austria - detailed information


Trusted Spotter – Specialists among spotters and chasers in Austria



SKYWARN Storm Chasers in action (Courtesy of SKYWARN AUSTRIA) 


So-called “trusted spotters” – as the name implies spotters with a special status - play a significant role in forecasting. On a voluntary basis they are contributing reports of significant or severe weather as well as accompanied damages. Their reports satisfy high quality demands and are provided according to strict guidelines. Thus, the ZAMG offers an extensive educational program to enable spotters for the successful accomplishment of these specific requirements. 


Full support from ZAMG





Damage assessment and job shadowing visit of an aspiring Trusted Spotter at ZAMG regional center Vienna (Source SKYWARN)


After the institutionalization of TSN, the reliability of the information for operational forecasters improved significantly. To sustain these high quality demands of the network, ZAMG offers an individual training program, regular workshops as well as professional and scientific support for all members. This program for collaborating TSN spotters and storm-chasers seems to be the most sophisticated among European national weather services.

The program is composed of two components:

The first component of the individual training activity consists of job-shadowing at ZAMG. This part is provided personally by forecasters of every regional center of ZAMG in Austria and is based on a standardized procedure. The focus is set on the comprehension and the practical application of the respective event types according to ESWD standards.

The second component of the training involves up to three annual workshops which will take place at ZAMG regional centers. In addition to presentations from spotters and scientists, all participants have the opportunity to engage in deepened discussions of meteorological phenomena as well as case studies.

Both training components are mandatory for fully licensed trusted spotters and must be completed successfully at least once by each individual TSN member. Further, all members are invited to refresh their knowledge annually, even after the completion of the licencing program.




Presentations and scientific workshops are fundamental for the completion of the TSN training (Source ZAMG)



Professional public relations in near real time 

As a result of this collaboration, the operational forecaster at ZAMG is potentially able to use additional and reliable information in near real time to evaluate and verify warnings during severe weather periods. This advantage enables a forecaster to conduct further adjustments to warnings and use reliable and trusted information for the communication with e.g. civil authorities.

Given the severity and societal impact of severe weather, the network enables joint case studies in cooperation with all partners which can be released to the public without significant delay.


Pieter Groenemeijer, Director of the European Severe Storms Laboratory, ESSL:

Reports from voluntary spotters in ESWD allow real time utilization at the forecast office at ZAMG for warnings and nowcasting. Also, these reports can be used worldwide for scientific studies. TSN Austria provides an unrivalled paradigm in Europe, ESSL hopes for followers among other European countries.

Michael Riemann, Chairman of SKYWARN Austria:

This unique collaboration between a national weather service and a non-profit spotter organization, between professional meteorologists and volunteer spotters, is a big step towards a modern understanding of operational meteorology.

Michael Staudinger, Director of ZAMG:

TSN represents a win-win situation for all involved parties: public weather warnings are a legislative task of ZAMG, therefore, any additional information about the current weather situation is of imminent value for the forecaster. Due to the specific spotter training from ZAMG, the number of reliable extreme weather reports is constantly growing. Last but not least, the involvement of ZAMG regional centres in the network increases the benefit from local weather expertise.


Contacts and addresses:



Pieter Groenemeijer



Michael Riemann



Thomas Krennert, project lead

Weather, Division Customer Service

ZAMG - Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik

+43 1 36026 2309


Updated: 210407



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