Research within weather satellite

The remote sensing group are involved in several national and international projects. The international projects are mainly european projects. The results are used within the SMHI core fields of meteorology, climatology, hydrology and oceanography.

We mainly use data provided by sensors on the operational meteorological weather satellites (the polar orbiting NOAA/Metop satellites and the geostationary METEOSAT satellites) but also data from other research-oriented satellites are studied.

Satellite-retrieved information is today crucial as input to numerical weather prediction models for the production of weather forecasts on the short and medium time range (up to 10 days). Also for very short forecasts for the next few hours (so called Nowcasting applications) satellite products are important for the monitoring of severe weather.

In recent years, satellite information has also started to be utilised in climate monitoring applications where our group is mainly involved in the monitoring of mean cloud conditions.

Most of our activities are carried out within the framework of projects initiated by EUMETSAT, the European cooperation for improved utilisation of meteorological satellite information.

Cloud analysis at the short time scale

Example on our product Cloud Type (CMa)

In one of the projects we are responsible for the development and maintenance of software algorithms to extract cloud information from the current Metop and NOAA satellites. In the future also data from the NPP/NPOESS program. The result, or the products, are an important source of information for example forecasters but also for automatic analysis tools as the SMHI developed MESAN (mesoscale analysis).

Automatic cloud analysis - the Nowcasting SAF project

Cloud analysis at the longer time scale

The other satellite project is about climate study of clouds. The purpose of this project is to generate, monitor and archive high quality cloud products for climate studies.


SMHI has been involved within the research field of cloud classification since the 80ties. Our first cloud classification model SCANDIA was inplemented already 1988.