Military Meteorological Service

Meteorology is the science which predicts the evolution of weather and climate on a regional and global scale through the study of factors that regulate the dynamics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere.

The development of economy, life, and of knowledge of the society, has always influenced the advancement of the science of weather forecasting. Generally, there are few human activities that are not related to rainfalls, temperatures, winds, etc. However, the science of meteorology started to have a greater development with the beginning of the air flights. There is a very close link between air flights and meteorological science, as the latter guarantees the normal conditions for national and international flights.

Our country has its own history regarding the development of meteorological science. The first values of meteorological elements have been measured in 1887, in the city of Shkodra. Then, they started to be measured in other cities such as Durrës, Tirana, Korça and Vlora. But, in these places where values were measured, and where foreign people were working such as Jesuit priests, it was not possible to provide Meteorological Services. Until liberation, there was only a hydrographic office at the Ministry of World Affairs and a meteorological office at the Ministry of Agriculture.

A national meteorological network, which would include all the meteorological services in country, was finally established in 1949 by the Institute of Science. For this purpose, there were set up nine measuring places which were equipped with standard equipment of that time, in the cities of Shkodra, Kukës, Peshkopi, Durrës, Tirana, Kuçova, Vlora, Korça and Gjirokastra. Obviously, the measuring places were dispersed across the country, in different regions, with different distances and climatic conditions and operating 24 hours a day.

The meteorological elements observed at each station during the day were: sun rise, sun set, horizontal visibility, cloudiness, wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, air temperature and soil, humidity, evaporation and precipitation. Their values were measured partially every hour and completely every three hours. Also, every single day in Tirana Central Station, four terrestrial synoptic maps were worked on and analyzed manually to cover the weather forecast throughout the country. Transmitting and receiving meteorological data both inside and outside the country were done every three hours in Central Station through Morse system via radio waves.

Cooperation with the outside world was realized through the Meteorological Centre in Sofia, Bulgaria and served to ensure a smooth flight over the airspace of Albania and to contribute to international surveillance network.

It was the first time, only in 1949, when the whole management and staff of this meteorological station were all Albanians. So, the head of the Meteorological Service was the meteorologist Pal Nikolli, meanwhile meteorologists such as Petrit Leka, Nuri Bajko, Nazmi Daja, Seit Berisha were working for the civil sector, while the military sector was represented by meteorologist Hamit Kotoni. These meteorologists, who had studied in Yugoslavia, have made a remarkable work in the history of the National Meteorological Service through their professionalism and dedication.

In the same time, in 1949, was established the Directorate of Meteorological Service, as part of Science Institute.

Meanwhile, the network service personnel have been increasing. We should highlight the hard work of the observers Nimete Zaka, Milla Përbilla, Albert Mërgjoni, Hamdi Shijaku, Zyber Dana etc, as well as the technicians, Marie Kristiqi, Myzejen Sokoli, Vitore Dushi, Fatima Mema, etc.

By the Council of Ministers decision no.411, date 02.11.1955, “On reorganization of the Meteorological Service of Albania”, it was decided that the Central Meteorological Service in Tirana and in its counties to be removed from the administration of the Institute of Science and to be passed to Ministry of Defence. The Military Meteorologist Hamid Kotoni was appointed the chief of Central Meteorological Service.  By order of Minister of Defence no.1149, date 26 December 1955, the meteorological service was subordinate to the Aviation Command. And so, began the history of close cooperation between the Aviation Command and National Meteorological Service. This cooperation led to the modernization and improvement of the existing network.
In this period, meteorologists such as Engjell Korça, Servet Minarolli, Minush Karalliu, etc. as well as technicians Rakibete Çuri, Vangjeli Korca, Myzejen Shehri, etc. have done remarkable work.

On September 7, 1956, by decision of Council of Ministers no.377, the Aerology Sector was established as a part of Meteorological Service. The creation of this sector would mainly serve to determine the altitude of clouds, as well as for determining the wind direction and speed, only for military purposes. According to this decision the Central Station (Aerology Sector) had a task to make, at least twice a day, the probe of atmosphere by raising aerosondes or pilot balloons. The data which were taken, served to prepare the meteorological bulletin for Air Force.
In 1957, the network of nine stations of the Aviation Meteorological Service was recorded to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with latitude and longitude and height above sea level.

This organization was part of the UN and based on conventions established by UN, our state had the obligation to perform meteorological observations, development of meteorological telegrams in network of meteorological stations, the collection of these telegrams in Central Station and sending them through Bulgaria to the European Meteorology Centre as required.  These telegrams, which should be delivered every three hours, would serve for processing 24-hour forecast synoptic maps of weather conditions.  The Aviation Meteorological Service, via radio waves, also used to take meteorological information by the European Meteorology Centre.

Under the direction of the Air Force Command, the Meteorological Service Network has been continually increasing. Thus, with the establishment of airports in 1960, Rinas Synoptic Station was created, tasked to provide metrological service to military and civil aviation for international airlines. While in 1967, Farka Synoptic Station was established, with the task to provide meteorological service to military helicopters of Farka Helicopter Regiment, to be followed later in 1974 with the creation of the Gjadri Synoptic Station, tasked with providing meteorological service to flights of Aviation Regiment, in Gjadër. Thus, the network of Albanian Meteorological Service under the Aviation Command was completed and operated actively in accordance with the requirements of the time.
Partizan Petroshati, a military, who had studied meteorological-engineering in China, was appointed in charge of the Aviation Meteorological Service during the period of 1975 to 1990.

For the period 1990 to 1992, Minush Karalliu, a military, was appointed in charge of the Meteorological Service.
But, what was the composition of the Albanian Meteorological Service network and how were the requirements met at that time?
The service network consisted of twelve stations, which were divided into stations without meteorologists, in which only observations were made; and stations with meteorologists, which made observations and weather forecasts.

The metrological stations in Shkodre, Kukës, Peshkopi, Durrës and Korça, were stations where only observations were made and had in their composition: the meteorological garden with dimensions 26 by 26 meters included the meteorological cage, thermometers to measure the temperature of the earth, anemometer showing wind speed and direction, as well as pluviometer that measures the amount of rain. The meteorological cage consists of: psychrometer, which consists of dry air and moist air thermometer; minimum and maximum thermometers; hygrometer, which measures specific humidity; thermograph and hygrograph which show daily and weekly progress of temperature and humidity.

The Office of Meteorological Observations owned and had in use, the mercury and aneroid barometers, which serve to measure atmospheric pressure; the barograph, which shows daily and weekly progress of atmospheric pressure; the psychrometric tables, which served for calculation of dew point temperature; and the journals, which served to record the measurements of meteorological elements for the compilation of meteorological telegrams.

While the meteorological stations, where observations and predictions were made, were as following: Central Station of Tirana, Rinas, Farka, Gjadri, Kuçova and Vlora. Besides the garden and meteorological observation offices, these stations included the offices of the technique of weather forecasting.  
The technical office used to receive every three hours meteorological data from the European Meteorology Centre via radio-receiver, through Bulgaria. These data were manually marked in the synoptic maps of weather forecasting by technicians, which were earth maps and with altitude of 850mb, 700mb, 500mb, 300mb and 200mb. Then, these maps were passed to  the forecast office, where manually were analyzed by the meteorologists, meaning after studied as three-dimensional atmosphere in order to conclude:  What is and what will be the weather conditions for the next 24-four hours in our country and in European continent.

The central station in Tirana was collecting all meteorological data coming from the districts, and preparing meteorological bulletin, which initially were passed to the General Staff, Ministry of Defence, and then all state departments, and to the Albanian Television as well. It is noteworthy the representation with professionalism and dignity that meteorologist Petrit Leka has done over the years for Meteorological Service in the Albanian Television until 1990.
Archives were situated in Tirana Central Station, in which are archived all meteorological bulletins, synoptic maps and other scientific works since the establishment of  the Meteorological Service.

The Aviation Meteorological Service has had close ties with Hydro-meteorological Institute. Thanks to this cooperation, very serious scientific works in the field of meteorology were realized. Aviation Meteorological Service was one who regularly prepared tables with calculated values of meteorological elements, which, along with other studies of this type, were sent to the Hydro-meteorological Institute, where processed and later, reprinted, thus taking the form of scientific studies.
As a result of the collective scientific work since 1956, the data of Meteorological Aviation Centre assisted in the publication of the Annual Meteorology Bulletin. In this edition of the Meteorological Services included annual data by months, the values of meteorological elements measured in meteorological stations, analysis of synoptic difficult situations, etc. Also, in 1978 the books: "Climate of Albania" and "Climate Atlas of Albania" were published, an edition equipped with 120 maps, diagrams and tables, in which were reflected the distribution of key Albanian climate parameters such as: air temperature, precipitations, air humidity, clouds, sun set - sun rise, atmospheric pressure, wind and temperature diagram of the earth. Cooperation with Hydro-meteorological Institute has continued until 1996.

Given the fact that the addition of meteorological measurement stations helps to accurately forecast weather conditions, by order of the Minister of Defense no. 23, date 12 February 1986, near military installations, meteorological outposts were established. This outpost used to give to Meteorological Central Station relevant data for air temperature, rainfall and snowfall.

The change of socio-political system after 1991 affected the functioning and structure of the network of meteorological service. In this period, there were reductions of meteorological information which come from districts to the Central Station for various reasons such as: reduction of meteorological outposts in military bases, destruction of telephone lines in some districts, lack of financial funds for stations’ maintenance, as well as to provide payrolls for personnel. The latter led to the reduction of personnel across the network and therefore removing the third shift at all network stations. In 1996, the agreement between the Defence Minister and the Minister of Transport, the station of Rinas is disconnected from the network of Air Force Meteorological Service and passes this one under the Ministry of Transport.

The uprisings of 1997 created serious damage to Meteorological Service network except to Central Station. At this station was saved everything and what is most important, archives were protected, and so, the work done with so many years of dedication and professionalism of the employees of this service were protected.

Major Sherif Ymeri was the head of the Meteorological Service during the period of 1993 to 1998.
In the context of the full modernization of the Armed Forces, on August 27, 1997, the cooperation agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Defence and the Italian Ministry of Defense was signed in Rome. One of the results of this agreement was the beginning of implementation of project no. 403 between the Air Force Command and the Italian Delegation of Experts (DIE) in Tirana, aiming the “organization and modernization of the Air Force Meteorological Service in accordance with the requirements of WMO.”

This goal would be achieved through two parallel lines which were: increasing the professional level of service personnel; modernization of equipment and improvement of working methods in the service network.
The increase of the level of professional service personnel would be done through training courses in Albania and Italy. These courses, which have started in 1997 and which continue today, are of different levels such as, "weather observer", "junior forecast” and "operational meteorologists."
Modernization of the equipment would be carried out; by upgrading existing network with contemporary modern equipment, computerization of compiling meteorological telegrams and meteorological information sharing within and outside the country. Subsequently, from 2000 until today several meteorological stations have been modernized such as, the Central Meteorological Station of Tirana and other stations in Farka, Gjadër, Kuçova, Gjirokastra and  Kukës. For the first time in these stations, for weather forecasting were used "Meteosat 7" satellite images (VIS, IR and VW) and math-numerical models that are dynamic expression of the laws of thermodynamics of the atmosphere in the language of mathematical equations.
Colonel Mexhit Taku led the Meteorological Service during the period of 1998 to 2001. While from 2001 and onwards, Aviation Meteorological Service is headed by Colonel Bardhyl Imeraj.

In March 2003, transmitting and receiving of meteorological information started to be provided by Italian Meteorological Center through the "Prometeo" program. In the same year Gjirokastra and Vlora stations returned to automatic stations type MAWS 301, while in Tirana Central Station HF radio was installed for communication with the other stations such as Farka, Vlora and Gjirokastra.

By order of the commander of Air Force no.1993 date 21 October 2003, in Tirana Central Station began the operating with three shifts system.
In the framework of modernization of Meteorological Service network, in September 2004 in Tirana Central Station, program "Nubis” was installed. Through this program, was realized the acquisition of meteorological information via satellite, and also using this program on September 23, 2004 began broadcasting weather information on public television by the Air Force Meteorological Service.

A great achievement for the Air Force Meteorological Service was the approval by the Parliament of law no.9224 date 29 April 2004 and the Regulation on organization and operation of the service, approved by Order of the Minister of Defense no.418 date 28 June 2004, in which were clearly defined purpose, subordination, organization and tasks of military meteorological service.

Since 2008 many private or local television broadcast meteorological data obtained from the Air Force Meteorological Center. It’s also unerway the introduction of meteorological data on the Internet, where people will take 24 to 24 real-time weather forecasts.



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