Veðurstofa Ísland ‐ Icelandic Meteorological Office, IMO (IMO)

Updated 2016-05-17

The main purpose of IMO is to contribute towards increased security and efficiency in society by: • Monitoring, analyzing, interpreting, informing, giving advice and counsel, providing warnings and forecasts and where possible, predicting natural processes and natural hazards; • issuing public and aviation alerts about impending natural hazards, such as volcanic ash, extreme weather, avalanching, landslides and flooding; • conducting research on the physics of air, land and sea, specifically in the fields of hydrology, glaciology, climatology, seismology and volcanology; • maintaining high quality service and efficiency in providing information in the interest of economy, of security affairs, of sustainable usage of natural resources and with regard to other needs of the public; • ensuring the accumulation and preservation of data and knowledge regarding the long-term development of natural processes such as climate, glacier changes, crustal movements and other environmental matters that fall under IMO‘s responsibility. IMO has a long-term advisory role with the Icelandic Civil Defense and issues public alerts about impending natural hazards. The institute participates in international weather and aviation alert systems, such as London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), the Icelandic Aviation Oceanic Area Control Center (OAC Reykjavík) and the European alarm system for extreme weather, Meteoalarm. Network type: Thematic observations in 6 different fields

Time frame

Project time span
not specified
Data collection
not specified
Data processing
not specified
Data reporting
not specified

Contact information

Contact person
- -
Árni Snorrason, Director General,

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Seawater/suspended particulate matter


Regions studied
Iceland EEZ
Stations or areas where observations are made


Data availability

Data availability and access

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

The “new” IMO was established in January 2009 when the former Icelandic Meteorological Office founded in 1920 and the Hydrological Service of the National Energy Authority of Iceland founded in 1947 were merged into a new institute. The measurements, however, have in most cases been conducted much longer, occasionally for the largest part of the 20th century. Most fields are monitored regularly. In 1920 when the former IMO was established the number of weather stations were 20. Today weather monitoring is conducted hourly, either by automatic monitors or by manual monitoring. The first seismometer was set up in Iceland in 1909, but earthquake monitoring started at IMO in 1925. In contrast, the first GPS meter was established at IMO in 1999, The seismometers as well as the GPS-network is an on-line-system with continuous data streaming. Water levels and river discharge has been monitored continuously since 1959 and with occasional non-continous stations initiated earlier. The discharge data are usually published in a daily format; however, specifically defined flooding stations give warnings, both on the basis of changes in water level as well as changes in water temperature and conductivity. Sea-ice records have been collected at IMO since its establishment in the 1920s, and today sea ice is monitored with daily satellite pictures, by notifications from ships, and by regular sea-ice monitoring flights. Daily monitoring on SO4‐S, NO3‐N, Cl, Na, Mg, K, Ca í mg/l and SO2‐S í μg/m3 in rain, particulates and atmosphere has been conducted in Grímsnes, in south west of Iceland, since 1972 and in Reykjavík since 1982. Transboundary pollution has been monitored in Iceland, under an international project called Stórhöfði, since 1991. CO2, CH4, CO, H2, SF6 and N2O in addition to 13C and 18O isotopes in CO2 and 13C isotope in methane are measured and the data is sent yearly to European databases. Sulfur is monitored in algae and other marine substances and ozone on the surface to research the seasonal changes in these substances and their connection to weather.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Veðurstofa Ísland ‐ Icelandic Meteorological Office, IMO (IMO)

Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Not specified Networks: European network for extreme weather (Meteoalarm), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), WMO Global Cryosphere Watch (WMO Global Cryosphere Watch)

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

Not specified, likely not

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