Skip to main content


100 years of IMGW-PIB

Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. This was a very important birthday, which we enjoyed with happiness, respect and pride. Happiness, as we enjoy a lot finding answers to the question – what will be the weather like? Respect, as it requires professionalism and continuous improving the knowledge. And pride, when we receive appreciation and gratitude for accurate analyses and forecasts. On behalf of all people who constitute the Institute, I would like to thank for those 100 years.

We have desire to be a highly appreciated scientific centre. We want our studies to receive a proper attention globally. We want to educate, indicate trends and facts, and finally offer solutions to various economic and social problems resulting from climate change. This is our plan for the following years.

We often repeat: “We know the weather”. And yes, we try to get to know them and “tame” them into data, finally offering the accurate forecast. So, when you ask “What will be the weather like?”, please remember, that all this data come from one source: IMGW-PIB.

Ph.D. Przemysław Ligenza


Milestones in development of IMGW-PIB

1717 – first hydrological records based on gauge in Wroclaw.

1739 – first hydrological records based on gauge in Gdansk.

1871 – foundation of Hydrological Service under Prussian rule; 1876 – in Galicia; while in 1893 under Austrian rule.

1881 – first meteorological post which conducted measurements and observations (air temperature, wind and precipitation) in Bialystok.

1885 – Warsaw Meteorological Network and Office and Central Station in Warsaw Museum of Industry and Agriculture started large-scale meteorological observations. The first instruction for observers of Warsaw Network was issued.


1904 – first meteorological manual was published.

1912 – network of meteorological stations consists of 333 locations.

1919 – foundation of Hydrological Department in the Ministry for Public Works, aimed at researching standing phenomena connected with water flow, determining their reasons and results.

1934 – Hydrological Institute was founded under auspices of Ministry of Communication.

1945 – foundation of National Hydrological-Meteorological Institute, obliged to ensure a hydrological cover over Poland and rebuild the network of hydrological and meteorological stations throughout the country.

1952 – foundation of Hydrological Forecast Office, performing service and carrying out R&D work. Office departments hold functions of regional data collecting stations and ensure local hydrological cover on their premises.

1960 – Hydrological Forecast Office issued a study called “Report on anti-flood and water economy in Rożnów-Czechów hydro power station”, which became a breakthrough in former methods and form of hydrological cover. The report under the direction of professor J. Lambor consisted of 12 volumes.

1967 – first polish ground station started collecting regular data from APT meteorological satellites in Rocket and Satellite Research Division in Cracow.

1973 – a high-class digital machine ODRA 1305 was designed and implemented, in order to analyse rainfall-runoff and melting-runoff forecast models, as well as transform flow using simulation techniques. First, the forecast system was launched for Soła and Dunajec rivers (MONIKA and MONS models accordingly), and then for central Vistula and Narew.

1973 – the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management was established as a result of merging PIHM and Institute of Water Management.

1975 – Satellite Data Collection Center was establish along with the Office of Satellite Data Interpretation.

1979 – start of receiving satellite data from METEOSAT geostationary satellite. It was possible due to launch of first receiving system for registering METEOSAT-WEFAX data in the 1,7 GHz band, built by Wroclaw University of Science and Technology. The seventies are the time of working out methods of using satellite images to forecast storms and precipitation, as well as work on developing techniques of data transmission to users. Satellite images were also used for the first time to examine air pollution.

1980 – Department of Space Meteorology began research of stratosphere based on collected rocket data.

1984 – a beginning of NOAA-HRPT digital data collection. In 1986 station for receiving NOAA-HRPT digital transmission, built by Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, was installed in Centre for Receiving and Processing Satellite Data in IMGW Department in Cracow. The operational receiving of NOAA data also started.

1993 – the first contract with EUMETSAT was signed, concerning use of coded satellite data for the needs of scientific work and meteorological and hydrological service.

1995 – a new station for receiving METEOSAT HRI and NOAA HRPT satellite data was installed in Department of Satellite Research in Cracow. Works on new satellite products for the need of weather monitoring and chemical composition of the atmosphere have begun.

1999 – Poland became a country cooperating with EUMETSAT.


2001 – Department of Satellite Research in cooperation with EUMETSAT organized first international training in Poland, concerning use of satellite data. Representatives of state meteorological services from Central European countries took part in the training.

2003 – the beginning of use of satellite data for weather monitoring, particularly convection phenomena and low-level Stratus clouds and fogs with use of Meteosat satellite data.

2005 – Satellite Application Centre for EUMETSAT Operational Hydrology (H-SAF) was founded, where IMGW coordinates works aimed at validation of satellite products generated by H-SAF with use of hydrological models.

2007 – Department of Remote Sensing (ZTA) and Department of Monitoring and Environment Research (ZMBŚ) were merged to create the new Department of Monitoring and Modelling of Air Pollution.

2007 – launch of IMGW-PIB weather service –

2009 – IMGW-PIB becomes the main Polish partner of EUMETSAT organisation.

2010 – foundation of Flood and Drought Modelling Centres.

2010 – start of IT System for Protecting the Country against Emergencies (ISOK), in order to develop preliminary flood risk assessment, as well as maps of flood hazard and risk.

2010 – IMGW receives the TERAZ POLSKA (POLAND NOW) trademark.


2010/2011 – Installation and launch of system for receiving and processing satellite data, which allows to use satellites broadcasting in X band: Terra, Aqua, Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20.

2011 – start of free data sharing, in accordance with Access to Public Information Act, adjusted to EU directives.

2012 – IMGW-PIB together with EUMETSAT organizes the main annual conference for users of data from meteorological satellites: 2012 EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference.

2013 – first issue of IMGW-PIB scientific magazine called “MHWM”.

2014-2015 – working out plans of flood risk management for river basin districts and water regions.

2016 – launch of “Numerical weather forecasts for sustainable Europe” project.

2017 – launch of meteorological, hydrological and radar data free sharing process.

2017 – IMGW-PIB becomes a national operator of satellite data from Copernicus system – Sentinel-1,2,3 and 5P satellites. This data allows to monitor ice cover on sea and bigger rivers, flooded and partly flooded areas during flood, state of earth area, algae blooms and cyanobacteria on sea, sea status (height, waves, wind), as well as atmospheric composition.

2017 – working out plans of adaptation to climate change in cites above 100 thousand residents (finished in 2018).

2017 – IMGW-PIB signs contract for carrying out project named “System of operational collecting, sharing and promoting digital satellite information on environment (Sat4Envi)”, financed with the European Union funds from the European Regional Development Fund within the Digital Poland Operational Programme.

2018 – start of project of digitalisation of archive meteorological data, gathered in Lesser Poland from 19th to first half of 20th century.

2019 – launch of “System of operational collecting, sharing and promoting digital satellite information on environment (Sat4Envi)” project, financed with the European Union funds from the European Regional Development Fund within the Digital Poland Operational Programme. The aim of the project is to build comprehensive system allowing to common and easy use of digital meteorological information, based on existing and modernized within the project resources of institution involved: IMGW-PIB, Centre for Space Research, Polish Academy of Sciences (SRC PAS), Academic Computer Centre CYFRONET and Polish Space Agency.