Remote Sensing and Satellite Applications

Utilising specialist expertise from the EUMETSAT member states, Satellite Application Facilities (SAFs) are dedicated centres of excellence for processing satellite data and forming an integral part of the distributed EUMETSAT Application Ground Segment.

The eight EUMETSAT SAF's provide operational data and software products, each one for a dedicated user community and application area. DMI’s major involvements are OSISAF (Ocean and Sea Ice), ROMSAF (Radio Occultation Meteorology) and O3MSAF (Ozone and Atmospheric Chemistry Monitoring).

DMI’s remote sensing research covers atmosphere, ocean and cryosphere applications with focus on radar image processing, radio occultation, ozone and UV-radiation, SST, sea ice, iceberg, ice surface temperature and ice drift. 

CCI Sea Ice - ESA (Link:

Project aims: The objectives of the Sea Ice CCI are to twofold: (1) Develop and provide quality-controlled ice concentration data sets for the Arctic and Antarctic from 1979 to present based on passive microwave data and (2) Develop and provide Arctic sea ice thickness data sets based on radar altimeter data from 1993 to present.  Both datasets with the best possible validation and error characterization.

DMI’s role: Lead the work on development of ice concentration dataset.

Funding: ESA

Period: January 1st, 2012 - December 31th, 2015

Collaborators: NERSC, MET, FMI, DTU, U-Bremen, U-Hamburg, and others

Participants from DMILeif T. Pedersen project leader

Defrost (Link:

Project aims: The aim of DEFROST (Impact of a changing cryosphere - Depicting ecosystem-climate feedbacks from permafrost, snow and ice) is to understand how climate change induced changes in the cryosphere influence the ecosystem/geosphere processes which directly affect climate. We will focus on key terrestrial, lacustrine and marine cryospheric components that have the potential for giving rise to substantial changes in climate feedback mechanisms both in terms of surface-atmosphere energy exchange and exchanges of greenhouse gases. DEFROST seeks to bridge existing gaps between climate modeling, cryospheric science, and Arctic ecosystem science.

DMI’s role: Improved parameterisation of permafrost, snow and ice related processes is being incorporated in the existing Regional Climate Models RCA (Sweden), HIRHAM (Denmark) and later in HARMONIE (International). The impact on changes in regional cryospheric/climate scenarios is investigated, beneficial also to the DEFROST user community and in terms of impacts and adaptation, by a provision of more elaborated regional scenarios. A novel element is the implementation of a sub-sea permafrost model in the HIRHAM-HYCOM coupled system for the Arctic based on the GIPL permafrost model develop in UAF in Alaska

FundingNordic Top-level Research Initiative (TRI)

Period: Sept. 1 2010 – Aug. 31, 2015.

CollaboratorsLund University, University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, Stockholm University, The University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS, Swedish Meterorological and Hydrological Institute, AarhusUniversity Denmark, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Danish Meteorological Institute

Participants from DMIJens Hesselbjerg Christensen, Martin Stendel, Christian Rodehacke Peter Langen and Martin Olesen

eSurge (Link:

Project aims: To increase the use of satellite observations for storm surge applications. The project is assessing ocean model nowcasting and forecasting skills for storm surges in a test area (the North Sea and Baltic Sea) by combining a number of real time data sets, such as altimeter data and tide gauge data, with ocean forecast models to provide best estimates using data-assimilation techniques and best forecasts. 

DMI’s role: DMI has developed a new method of blending sea level observations from altimetry and tide gauges. This combines the high temporal resolution and real-time availability of tide gauges with the spatial cover of satellite altimetry, providing a nowcast of sea level based on observations. This product is then assimilated into DMI's ocean model covering the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The model nowcast and forecast skills of the assimilated runs are compared to the non-assimilated runs. The impact of the assimilation will be assessed and disseminated in a report.

Funding: ESA

Period: May 1st, 2011 - Aug. 1st, 2014

Collaborators: CGI, NOC, DMI, CMRC and KNMI

Participants from DMI: Jacob L. Høyer, Vibeke Huess, Kristine S. Madsen and Ole Krarup Leth. Weiwei Fu involved until Jan. 1st, 2014. Lars Jonasson involved until June 1st, 2014.

Globtemperature (Link:

Project aims: DMI will perform a user case study where satellite ice surface temperature will be assimilated into the HYCOM model  to assess the improvements of using satellite Ice Surface Temperature (IST) observations. 

DMI’s role: 
DMI will perform a user case study where gridded and merged satellite ice surface temperature (IST) will be developed and assimilated into the HYCOM-CICE model. The experiments will be validated to assess the improvements of using satellite IST observations.


Funding: ESA/ESRIN

Period: Jan. 1st, 2014 - Dec. 31th, 2017

Collaborators: University of Leicester, University of Reading, Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Trace Gases and Remote Sensing KIT, ACRI-ST, UK Metoffice, Estellus and University of Copenhagen.

Participants from DMIJacob L. Høyer project leader


Project aims: GMES-PURE project defines and implements a transparent process for user involvement in the definition of long-term requirements for the Copernicus Marine and Atmosphere Services. The process covers the definition of user requirements, but also the derivation of service specifications, service data requirements and technical requirements on the observation infrastructure.

The project is based on a user-driven method, which consists of two main features:

1. continuous and broad user involvement, and

2. consensus seeking at all stages.

The process was successfully applied by EUMETSAT to its future satellite programmes, and an extension is sought to address the additional complexity of the Copernicus Marine and Atmospheric user communities.

The project will further develop the results of the previously organized EC user consultation meetings for the GMES M&A Services (GMES Implementation Groups, etc.). In particular, these results will be further consolidated through specific user workshops and domain expert reviews, for the EC final approval involving the GMES User Forum.

The project is led by EUMETSAT, providing project coordination and the process for requirements engineering from the identification of needs to the requirement validation.

DMI’s role: 
DMI works on the service gap analysis and service data specification. In the service gap analysis, DMI will compare the user requirement documents for Copernicus Marine Service and MyOcean2 Service catalogue, to identify gaps in mid- and long-term on parameters, resolution, temporal and spatial scales and quality etc. Based on gap analysis, more detailed service data requirements will be specified and documented.     

Funding: GMES-PURE is a FP7 project with about 2 million euro funding from EC.

Period: July 1st, 2013 - December 31th, 2014

CollaboratorsEUMETSAT, EuroGOOS, SMHI, FMI etc. 

Participants from DMIJun She project leader. Ole Krarup


Project aims: The main objective of the HRWS project is to evaluate existing and demonstrate two potential new Sentinel-1 operation modes according to the HRWS (High Resolution Wide Swath) SAR operational specifications. The new modes are the full polarimetry and the wide swath and high resolution mode. Both new capabilities will be in addition to the current operation mode available at an HRWS system. With the new operation mode concept, all GMES services will profit with an improvement of the product quality, and new innovative application can be added into the list.

DMI’s role: DMI's role is to provide input and evaluate results of the demonstrations with respect to sea-ice applications.

Funding: ESA

Period: April 1st, 2014 - December 31th, 2015

Collaborators: DLR, DTU, Astrium, 

Participants from DMILeif T. Pedersen,  project participant

IASI IST - Ice Surface Temperature from Metop Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer

Project aims: The aim of the study is firstly to compile an inventory and assessment of in situ datasets relevant for the validation of Ice Surface Temperature (IST) from IASI with a primary focus in the Arctic. Secondly, evaluation and validation of the existing sea-ice surface temperature from the EUMETSAT IASI Level-2 product. Finally, the study will address a secondary validation of the ice surface temperatures over land surfaces from IASI.

DMI's role: DMI is the sole project contractor and hence, DMI will do the work in close collaboration with EUMETSAT project team.


Period: August 1st. 2016 - March 1st. 2017.

Collaborators: EUMETSAT

Participants from DMI: Gorm DybkjærInge Sandholt, Jacob L. Høyer, Jörg Steinwagner, Rasmus Tonboe


Project aims: ICEMAR will establish a pilot service delivering sea ice information products directly to ships navigating near or in ice-infested waters in the European Arctic and Baltic Sea.

The overall objective of the ICEMAR project is to establish a pilot down-stream GMES sea ice information service to improve access to existing and new ice information products to aid ships navigating near or within ice-infested waters in the European Arctic (primarily the Greenland and Barents Seas) and the Baltic Sea.

DMI’s role: 
Consultants on ice information services and supplier of digital ice charts and satellite images.

Funding: EU FP7

Period: Dec, 22th, 2010 - Dec. 22, 2014

CollaboratorsKSAT,, SMHI, FMI, BAS, KMA, BSH, VTT, NERSC, Astrium

Participants from DMILeif T. Pedersen project leader

OSI SAF (Link: )

Project aims: Project aims: For complementing its Central Facilities capability in Darmstadt and taking more benefit from specialized expertise in Member States, EUMETSAT created Satellite Application Facilities (SAFs) based on co-operation between several institutes and hosted by a National Meteorological Service.

The Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility (OSI SAF) is an answer to the common requirements of meteorology and oceanography for comprehensive information on the ocean-atmosphere interface. One of the objectives of the OSI SAF is to produce, control and distribute OSI SAF operational products in near real-time using available satellite data. 

DMI’s role: DMI is part of the High Latitude center (in cooperation with responsible for the production and distribution of the OSI SAF Sea Ice products, in particular: global sea ice concentration, global sea ice emissivity, medium resolution ice drift, and ice surface temperature.

Funding: EUMETSAT.

Period: Mar. 2012 - Feb. 2017 (Continuous Development and Operational Phase 2).

CollaboratorsEUMETSAT,, Meteo-France, IFREMER, KNMI.

Participants from DMIRasmus T. Tonboe, Gorm Dybkjær, Jacob HøyerMatilde Brandt Jensen (DMI local manager), Rolf-Helge Pfeiffer, Lars Ørum Rasmussen, John Lavelle and Luis Vargas.

O3M SAF (Link: english/danish (external) )

Project aims: The Satellite Application Facility on Ozone and Atmospheric Chemistry Monitoring (O3M SAF)  produces, archives, validates and disseminates ozone and atmospheric chemistry products, to support the services of the EUMETSAT Member States in weather forecasting, as well as monitoring of ozone depletion, air quality and surface UV radiation.

DMI’s role: 
DMI is responsible for the production, validation and dissemination of  the Near Real Time UV index products (

Funding: EUMETSAT.

Period: Mar 2012 – Feb 2017.


Participants from DMI: Helge Jønch-Sørensen


Project aims: The Radio Occultation Meteorology SAF is a decentralized facility under EUMETSAT, that runs an operational radio occultation system responsible for delivering bending angle, refractivity, temperature, pressure, and humidity profiles and gridded data in near-real time and offline for NWP and climate users. The ROM SAF also develops and maintains the ROPP (Radio Occultation Processing Package).

DMI’s role: 
DMI is The ROM SAF Leading Entity, and DMI undertakes development and maintainance of the ROM SAF operational products.

Funding: EUMETSAT.

Period:Mar 1st, 2012 – Feb 28th, 2017.

Collaborators: Met Office, ECMWF, IEEC.

Participants from DMI: Kent B. Lauritsen, Stig Syndergaard, Hans Gleisner, Johannes K. Nielsen and Helge Jønch-Sørensen

SPICES (Space-borne observations for detecting and forecasting sea ice cover extremes)

Project aims: The main objective of this project is to develop new methods to retrieve sea ice parameters from existing (and imminent) satellite sensors to provide enhanced products for polar operators and prediction systems, specifically addressing extreme and unexpected conditions.

DMI's role: Develop new methods for ice concentration and snow on sea-ice retrieval. Participate in seasonal forecasting WP.

Funding: EU H2020 Space

Period: 1. June 2015 - 31. May 2018.

CollaboratorsFMI,, NERSC, U-Bremen, U-Hamburg, DTU-Space, U-Cambridge, ECMWF, AWI, IFREMER, CNR, ITU

Participants from DMI: Leif Toudal Pedersen, Rasmus Tonboe and Till Rasmussen

S3vt-fa (Link:

Project aims: In situ Sea Surface Temperature measurements are very scarce at high latitude where satellite SST retrievals are particularly challenging. This project will provide detailed SST cal/val results for high latitudes during the Sentinel-3/SLSTR cal/val phase. This will be achieved through development and exploitation of a dedicated Sentinel-3/SLSTR MatchUp DB.

DMI’s role: 
Provide collocated Thermal-InfraRed radiometer data from the DMI-ISAR radiometer instrument operating on a Royal Arctic Lines vessel between Denmark and Greenland. The matched-Up DMI-ISAR and S3/SLSTR SST measurements will subsequently be exploited. The cal/val results will hereafter constitute a reference SLSTR matchup data set for high latitude SST due to the unique quality of the DMI-ISAR measurements.


Period: November 21th, 2014 - May 31th, 2017.


Participants from DMIGorm Dybkjær project leader, Jacob Høyer and Rasmus Tonboe