SHMÚ meteorological observations will be preserved for future generations

The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) is a specialized organization performing meteorological service at the national and international levels. It is most often brought to the public’s attention through meteorological and hydrological forecasts and warnings. Although it has been operating under this name only since 1969, it followed up on the work with meteorological and hydrological services, which have been operating in Central Europe since the middle of the 19th century. Therefore they have more than 150 years of history of monitoring the state of the air and water or describing events in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.

Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ)

According to Vladimír Rak, coordinator of SHMÚ’s business activities, they have stored data in various ways so far — from archiving paper diaries for observation, to various media such as CDs, DVDs, data tapes, and disks.

The collaboration

Vladimír Rak: “The cooperation went very smoothly. The selection of suitable data took the most time. No problems occurred during the cooperation. I was fascinated by the fact that archived data is largely readable even without the need for special equipment. All you need is just a light source and finding the beginning or end of the film. There you will find a readable description of what information is there and how to get it back. I would like to cite as an example of the oldest cave paintings that are more than 40,000 years old. Despite their age, we still have no problem reading them and we will immediately understand the meaning of the image. On the other hand, few of us can still play the videotape on which we recorded the most beautiful moments a few years ago or read a floppy disk on which we had a database of classmates from primary school. It is this “self-description” of the archival medium that I consider to be key to the long-term preservation. 

I think that all the important works of art and knowledge of our civilization should be preserved in this way, so our descendants in a few hundred years will not consider our era to be a time of information darkness, because they will have trouble reading our technology."

Vladimír Rak, SMHÚ

What type of content did you save on piqlFilm?

Marián Jurašek, Head of the Distance Measurement Department of SHMÚ: “We stored mostly radar data and a database of meteorological observations. Radar data is in the form of georeferenced images. After unpacking the archives, they can be immediately viewed or loaded into the web interface developed at SHMÚ. 

Meteorological observations are basic data that meteorologists and climatologists work with. Whether it is weather predictions for a few days or local and global climate developments, it is impossible to develop reliable forecasts without the knowledge of previous conditions and observations. In short — without knowing the previous conditions, no forecast can be made. Whether the weather forecast for a few days in advance or the forecast of climate development on Earth or in our area.

 Meteorological observations are point measurements and the number of stations is limited, therefore area measurements by distance methods are also used in meteorology. These include, in particular, data from meteorological satellites and radars. Data from satellites are centrally archived by an organization that operates meteorological satellites, however, meteorological radars are operated at the level of national meteorological services and are archived by each. 

There are orders of magnitude more of this data (hundreds of stations vs. millions of pixels), so they require high-capacity data storage. And piqlFilm is a very good alternative. ”