MeteoSwiss (German: MeteoSchweiz, French: MétéoSuisse, Italian: MeteoSvizzera), officially the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, is an office of the federal administration of Switzerland. Originally established as the Central Meteorological Institute (MZA), by 1863 it operated 88 weather stations. Its name was changed in 1979 to Swiss Meteorological Institute (SMA). Since 1996, it has been operating as MeteoSwiss. Since 2006, its official name is "Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss". The office observes the weather around the clock, creating weather forecasts and alerting authorities and population, when strong winds, heavy rainfall, storms or heat waves are forecast. In addition, it provides weather services for the civil, military and private aviation. The office also carries out a program of research and development to understand the weather and climate in the Alps. They also officially represent Switzerland at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva. It employs 290 people at locations in Zurich, Zurich Airport, Geneva, Locarno and Payerne. MeteoSwiss conducts its own research projects as well as participating in national and international collaborations with universities and other national meteorological services. The findings in turn contribute to the development of new, cutting edge service products as well as the improvement of existing ones. The national meteorological service, MeteoSwiss, has the task of describing and forecasting the weather and climate for the whole of Switzerland as accurately as possible. MeteoSwiss is involved in projects with other meteorological services, national and international organisations, universities and research institutes. The meteorological and climatological research carried out by MeteoSwiss is aimed at improving our services for the benefit of the population as well as the economy. MeteoSwiss is also involved in international collaborative projects in developing countries and emerging economies. Knowledge transfer is a catalyst for improving climate observations and services, and increases the extent to which the partner countries share their knowledge and experience at an international level.