The atmospheric remote sensing unit

SMHI conducts research in the field of atmospheric remote sensing. The main focus of the research group is on cloud and precipitation retrievals using satellite and radar measurements. The research is directed towards operational meteorology, hydrology and oceanography and also climate applications.

Weather observations by satellites and radars provide high resolutions in both time and space and cover gegraphical areas where there are few other observations, such as at sea. Satellite and radar data are of special importance when monitoring weather progress and severe storms. Remote sensing is also important as input in weather forecast models.

The SMHI remote sensing group mainly uses satellite and radar data to research the Earths' atmosphere. The research is partly aimed at improving operational meteorology and hydrology products.


Part of the research is spent improving existing and developing new operational cloud detection and cloud retrievals. The group also has a key role in producing long-term climatological cloud datasets such as CLARA-A2 and ESA Cloud_cci, as well as simulators that can simulate these datasets from climate model atmospheres. A significant part of the activity takes place within the international weather satellite cooperation Satellite Application Facilities (SAFs). This is done on behalf of the European weather satellite organization EUMETSAT.


The word radar is an acronym for: Radio Detection and Ranging. It is thus by radar and radar radio waves that objects can be detected remotely and distance calculations can be done. Radars operate at different frequencies, depending on the objects to be detected. In studies and research of precipitation weather radars at C-band or 5:35 GHz are used.

The network of radars in Sweden consists of 12 radars, of which 5 belong to SMHI and 7 to the Swedish Armed Forces. These cover virtually the entire country and the nearest waters along the coastline. The information from radars is used operationally by forecast meteorologists but also in the mesoscale weather analysis tool MESAN. Radar data is also used as input in numerical weather models and hydrological models.

Solar radiation - the STRÅNG project

SMHI, together with the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI)
and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has developed a model
of solar radiation called STRÅNG. This mesoscale model calculates
several solar radiation parameters over Northwestern
Europe on a daily basis.