A veteran weather forecaster has criticized a move whereby the Environment Agency (Keskkonnaagentuur) will take on the branding of weather synopses. While the State Weather Service (Riigi Ilmateenistus) had been under the agency's remit for several years already, it had up until now still operated under its own name.
Head of the Taimar Ala, the head of the agency, told ERR that: "The Environmental Agency was formed in 2013 by merging different agencies, since it was hoped that this would create added value and synergies.
"Abandoning the distinction between the Environment Agency and the State Weather Service was our next logical step," Ala added, noting that there will be less in the way of shorter-term weather forecasts and instead more impact-based assessments: "Where we will talk about what certain weather changes will bring."
The change will take place on April 1.
However, weather forecaster Taimi Paljak, well-known from ETV's weather forecast slots after "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) says the disappearance of the State Weather Service as a brand name is regrettable.
She said: "We will no longer operate under the weather service brand, but under the name of the environmental agency."
"The change of name will not bring any change to the synopses, but the weather service was known to the Estonian people as a brand. The name change thus removes us from the people," said Paljak, adding that people may start watching foreign channels instead.
The issue is even more serious when one takes into account weather warnings, which up to now have been issued by the weather service.
Paljak added that when the actual State Weather Service's function was merged with the agency in 2013, the promise was made at the time that it would be retained under its own name.
Taimar Ala said that noone previously employed by the weather service would need to lose their job.
The Environmental Agency was established in 2013 to reorganize the activities previously carried out by the Estonian Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Eesti meteoroloogia- ja hüdroloogia instituut) nd the Environmental Information Center (Keskkonnateabe keskus).
The Environmental Agency is responsible for the implementation of the national environmental monitoring program, the organization of national and international data exchange related to the environment, the collection and analysis of data, the assessment of the state of the environment and the provision of weather forecasts, warnings and monitoring data.
Editor: Andrew Whyte