Press release archive: 2011

The Finnish Meteorological Institute closely involved in satellite data development projects

30.8.2011 7:41

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is making progress with all of the Satellite Application Facility (SAF) development projects. The projects produce measurement data and services concerning ozone, other atmospheric trace gases, the Earth's surface albedo, the extent of snow cover, the relative share of snow-covered ground, and the water content of snow.

Earth´s surface albedo

Earth´s surface albedo

The Finnish Meteorological Institute leads the project Satellite Application Facility on Ozone and Atmospheric Monitoring. A total of 11 European research centres from seven countries participate in the project. The agreement between the Finnish Meteorological Institute and EUMETSAT was signed on 29 June. The agreements for the rest of the SAFs will be signed later in autumn. In these other projects, the Finnish Meteorological Institute serves as a partner.

Better observations of the atmosphere, albedo and snow

During the next five years, the O3M SAF project led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute will concentrate on data produced by the GOME-2 and IASI instruments on board the Metop satellites of EUMETSAT. The instruments provide data on the chemistry of the atmosphere, such as ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and aerosols. With respect to atmospheric research, these products are closely linked with the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme of the EU.

The products are used, for instance, in climate change research, in monitoring emissions from volcanoes and forest fires, and in following anthropogenic changes in the atmosphere. The project develops software and systems for the processing of data, it processes and archives measurement results and it distributes these to users. One of the two archiving centres is located in Finland, at the Arctic Research Centre in Sodankylä.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute’s participation in another project, the Satellite Application Facility on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management, has also been confirmed. The project provides products – for instance, on precipitation, soil moisture and snow – almost daily for scientists and industry. The Finnish Meteorological Institute leads operational production and product development in the snow cluster. The data produced pertain to snow detection, snow status, effective snow cover and snow water equivalent. The products can be utilised, for instance, as input for weather and climate models, in making hydrological forecasts, and in the management of power plant capacity. In addition, the Institute participates in assessing the accuracy of the project’s other products. The processing and archiving of the Institute’s snow products are concentrated in Sodankylä.

The Institute also continues to develop surface albedo products in the Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring project of EUMETSAT. Albedo is one of the important quantities used by climate models to describe the Earth’s energy balance. So far, the Finnish Meteorological Institute has produced the first global albedo time series covering a period of 30 years and has developed a surface albedo estimation method based solely on microwaves for the Arctic sea area. Changes in the albedo of the Arctic sea area have a strong impact on climate change. The situation cannot be monitored well by means of optical satellites alone because the view is obstructed by heavy clouds and the Sun is low on the horizon.

Additional information:

Seppo Hassinen, Research Scientist, tel. (09) 1929 4675,

Matias Takala, Research Scientist, tel. 040 5279778,

Surface albedo:
Terhikki Manninen, Research Scientist, tel. (09) 1929 4159,

More information about SAF projects: