On October 26, 2023, the 9th VAO board meeting took place in the rooms of the Technical University of Munich under the leadership of the new coordinator, Prof. Dr. Michael Krautblatter.
During the meeting, the "International Space Science Institute" and the "A. I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory Foundation", research institutions from Slovakia and Armenia, were accepted as associated partners in the research network. VAO also includes Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.
In addition, the "International Space Science Institute (ISSI)" was welcomed as a new "observer". ISSI now supports VAO in this capacity alongside the Alpine Convention and the European Space Agency (ESA).
We are very happy about the extension of our network and the future cooperation with new and old VAO members!
The 6th VAO Symposium took place from March 21st to 24th, 2023 in Grainau at the foot of the mountain Zugspitze. Around 80 participants, especially from Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Armenia, informed themselves about current results in all VAO research areas in seven keynote speeches and around 50 submitted lectures and posters and discussed them intensively.
Group foto of the participants at the 6th Symposium in Grainau/Germany (Bavaria)
Among the guests of honour were Dr. Christian Barth, head of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection, Dr. Christian Kirchsteiger from the EU Commission, the Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, Ms. Alenka Smerkolj, and Dr. Christian Gsodam from the Committee of the Regions.
The hosts - the environmental research station Schneefernerhaus together with the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment - were delighted with the great interest in this scientific exchange and would like to thank especially all the speakers who contributed to the success of this Symposium.
Participants of the symposium had also the opportunity to visit the environmental research station Schneefernerhaus on the Zugspitze.
The VAO Board met under the new coordinator of the VAO network, Prof Michael Krautblatter (TU Munich). He took over the position of the VAO coordinator from Prof Michael Bittner, University of Augsburg. Dr. Barth appreciated Prof Bittner for his very valuable and significant contributions to the VAO community in the past years.
Further details of the conference, in particular the submitted abstracts, will soon be available under "Download/abstract booklet". Comments on the conference and possible tips for the organization of future conferences can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the context of the EO Science for Society Programme Element, the European Space Agency is organising ATMOS-2021, a conference on the topical theme atmosphere: http://atmos2021.esa.int/.
The fifth Symposium of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO) took place from 3 to 6 February 2020 on the site of the Swiss partner HFSJG (High Altitude Research Stations Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat) in Bern. In about 60 lectures and presentations, the scientific and technological progress was presented to the approximately 100 participants.
The symposium was opened by Prof Dr Markus Leuenberger as representative of the Uni Bern. Key notes were given by Prof Dr Christian Leumann, Rector University of Bern, Dr Christian Barth, Director General of the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection, Germany, Christoph Neuhaus, State Councillor of the Canton of Berne,
Dr Paul Steffen, Vice Director of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Dr Petr Blížkovský, Secretary General Committee of the Regions and Prof Michael Bittner, VAO Coordinator and Chair of the VAO Board.
A video welcome note was given by André Jol, Head of the Adaptation and LULUCF Division, European Environment Agency. As observers of the VAO spoke Prof Dr Michael Rast, European Space Agency and Dr Marianne Elmi, Vice General Secretary of the Alpine Convention.
The "Virtual Alpine Observatory" was founded in 2012 as a network of European high-altitude research stations in the Alps and similar mountain regions. Observatories from currently ten countries are now represented in the network. Besides Germany, these are France, Georgia, Italy, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovenia;
The VAO is also part of the European Alpine Convention, whose objectives it supports, and will in future also serve as an important instrument for adapting and implementing the European Alpine Strategy (EUSALP).
Vienna | Austria | 3–8 May 2020 The EGU General Assembly 2020 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience. The EGU is looking forward to cordially welcoming you in Vienna. Abstract submission deadline: 15 January 2020, 13:00 CET).
On 7 June 2019, the VAO board met in Slovenia / Vipava. Among other things, setting up an EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation), calls for tenders from the EU (Horizon 2020) and ESA calls (EO4Alps) were discussed as well as the VAO symposium in February 2020.
As the newest observer, the Alpine Convention was represented at the meeting to discuss further cooperation, ESA took part via phone.
Group foto VAO board meeting in Slovenia
On 29.01.2019, the VAO board met in Switzerland / Bern to discuss current topics and to further strengthen international cooperation in the VAO. Among other things, it discussed the opportunities that setting up an EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation) could offer for the VAO, as well as future calls for tenders from the EU (Horizon 2020) and the ESA (EO4Alps), for which joint project proposals are planned.
Seven of the meanwhile nine VAO partner countries were represented at the meeting, as well as ESA, which has been participating in the VAO as observer since 2018.
Group photo VAO board meeting on 29 January 2019
European Conference for Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2018, 3–7 September 2018, Budapest, Hungary
As in the past 3 years, the (now already fourth) Symposium of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO) took place in the spring of this year, this time from 13 to 15 March 2018 on the site of the French partner OSUG (Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble) in Grenoble. In about 70 lectures and presentations the scientific and technological progress was presented to the approximately 100 participants. In addition, there were several splintermeetings on topics such as satellite validation or aerosols in order to initiate future joint, cross-border projects in this context.
Group foto of the participants at the Symposium in Grenoble (Bavaria)
The symposium was opened by Dr Michel Dietrich as representative of the OSUG. Key notes were given by Prof Eric Saint-Aman, Vice-president of the University of Grenoble, Mr. Pierre Meriaux, City Hall Grenoble, Dr Jiri Burianek, Secretary-General of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Prof Michael Rast, Director of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Christian Barth, Administrative Chief of the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection. All emphasized the importance of the VAO as a scientific institution for the study of climate change and its consequences across national borders.
Mountain regions are particularly predestined for such investigations. Bavaria has been supporting the VAO for several years. ESA is recently Observer of the VAO. The CoR also backed the VAO. An intensive cooperation is already planned.
The "Virtual Alpine Observatory" was founded in 2012 as a network of European high-altitude research stations in the Alps and similar montane regions. Observatories from eight countries are now represented in the network. Besides Germany, these are France, Georgia, Italy, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia; Institutions from other countries, eg. Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have expressed interest. Scientific questions on the atmosphere, biosphere, hydro- and cryosphere and possible health effects of environmental influences can be answered through the cross-border and interdisciplinary bundling of forces in a substantive depth, which becomes possible only through this cooperation. Moreover, the VAO is also part of the European Alpine Convention, whose objectives it supports, and will in future also serve as an important instrument for adapting and implementing the European Alpine Strategy (EUSALP).To the Symposium webpage
More than 100 representatives from politics, business and research accepted the invitation of the Bavarian State Minister Ulrike Scharf and met on June 29, 2017 at the Bavarian Representation in Brussels. Theme of the event was "Climate change - Identify and act on risks". In addition to Ulrike Scharf, the Bavarian State Minister for Environment and Consumer Protection, key note speeches have also been given by Dr Andrea Tilche, European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation, Head of Unit Climate Action and Earth Observation, and Dr Jiří Buriánek, Secretary General of the Committee of the Regions. Dr Lützenkirchen, Siemens Munich and Mr. Schiansky, Siemens environmental insurance, were discussing the impact of climate change on industrial or commercial enterprises as well as their need for resilient climate data as a basis for developing necessary climate adaptation strategies.
Both economic and political representatives have emphasized the need to address the urgent scientific and societal questions about global climate change with joint, cross-border research. Prof Dr Michael Bittner, Head of Department German Aerospace Center (DLR) German Remote Sensing Data Center Atmosphere Oberpfaffenhofen and Chairman of the VAO Board presented the strategy of the "Virtual Alps Observatory" (VAO) to the public for the very first time. The climate data delivered by VAO research can form the basis for political and economic decisions. The paper presents the strategic orientation of the VAO for the next 10 years and the most important upcoming VAO climate research topics.
Dr Hürkamp, Helmholtz Zentrum München, presented a specific VAO project from the practice: Scientists from UFS on the Zugspitze, ZAMG on the Sonnblick in Austria and HJGF on the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland are investigating the influence of climate change on the water balance.
All speakers from left to right: Moderator Silke Wettach, Dr Kerstin Hürkamp, Dr Andrea Tilche, Ulrike Scharf MdL, Dr Jiří Buriánek, Prof Dr Bittner, Dr Lützenkirchen and Martin SchianskyA
Prof Dr Bittner (on the right) hands over a VAO strategy paper (from the left to the right) to Dr Andrea Tilche, to Ulrike Scharf MdL and Dr Jiří Buriánek
Moderator Silke Wettach in discussion with the representatives from business and insurance, Dr Lützenkirchen and Martin Schiansky.