Press release archive: 2013

COSMO-SkyMed satellites provide data for the whole of the Arctic

12.3.2013 15:03

The Finnish Meteorological Institute and e-GEOS of Italy cooperate by processing data provided by four COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. The data sent by the satellites are received at the Finnish Meteorological Institute's Arctic Research Centre located in Sodankylä.

Photo: Jouni Vainio

Photo: Jouni Vainio

Besides receiving satellite data, the Institute participates in the analysis of COSMO-SkyMed observation material. This cooperation improves the observation of the state of the environment, its characteristics and changes, especially in the northern and Arctic regions. The data also play a role in the mapping of risks and opportunities pertaining to climate change. For instance, last autumn the satellite images were used for analysing floods in Kauhajoki and the extent of the Talvivaara mining accident. The Finnish Meteorological Institute has the exclusive right to sell and distribute COSMO-SkyMed images in Finland.

The COSMO-SkyMed satellites use radar (SAR) to observe the Earth. The radar is able to conduct first-rate, high-resolution measurements at short notice irrespective of the weather and lighting conditions. The Sodankylä station receives observations from the entire Baltic Sea region and extensively from Arctic areas. In the future, it will be possible to collect observations from locations around the world. The data sets are utilised, for instance, for monitoring the ice situation and changes in the northern polar region. The satellite observations are particularly important for enhancing the safety of winter navigation.

“The economic, political and scientific importance of the Arctic is increasing rapidly. Covered by ice in winter, the Baltic Sea has gained a more important role as a key transport channel for natural resources and industrial products. Combined with Finnish know-how of ice service and weather safety, the COSMO-SkyMed satellite material offers excellent new opportunities for producing innovative services for the Arctic region and the Baltic Sea,” says Research Professor Jouni Pulliainen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Because climate change proceeds more rapidly in the northern regions than elsewhere in the world, climate and marine research benefits greatly from the new satellite data.

Owned jointly by the Italian Space Agency and the Italian company Telespazio, e-GEOS is one of the world’s leading companies providing satellite services. It is involved in several projects, especially in the sector of marine observation. The Sodankylä satellite station also has cooperation with NASA, the European Space Agency ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites EUMETSAT.

Research Professor Jouni Pulliainen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute gave a talk on this topic at the Arctic seminar held in Rovaniemi on 12 March.

Additional information:

Jouni Pulliainen, tel. +358 29 539 4701,