Related initiatives


 C3S Operational Windstorm Service


The C3S Operational Windstorm Service (, 2015-Present) builds on the earlier WISC Sectoral Information Service Proof of Concept to provide Atlantic ETC storm track, footprints, summary data and loss estimates based on the ERA5 reanalysis data set. This is currently available from 1979 to the present. This Copernicus Climate Change Services (C3S) project aims to bridge the gap between institutions that provide climate data and the modelers and decision makers within the insurance sector. These WISC products provide a high-quality dataset of windstorm information that can be used by the insurance sector at a range of scales within Europe to better understand the levels of risk from wind storms. The next phase of the C3S project is being planned under KNMI leadership.



Within the frame of the EUMETSAT C‐band High and Extreme‐Force Speeds (CHEFS,, 2017-2020) study, KNMI, ICM and IFREMER have worked with international colleagues to address the question on how strong does the wind blow in a hurricane to prepare for the EPS-SG SCA scatterometer, which introduces C-band cross-polarization measurements to be able to improve the detection of hurricane-force winds. However, to calibrate satellite and model winds, in-situ wind speed references (i.e., buoy and dropsondes) are needed, while these prove rather inconsistent. During CHEFS, several wind data sets have been collected, i.e., (i) different types of moored buoy data; (ii) reprocessed SFMR 10-m winds, from 2008 to 2018; (iii) estimated 10-m dropsonde winds, from 2009 to 2018, along with the corresponding raw/quality-controlled wind profiles; (iv) reprocessed ASCAT-A 10-m winds at 12.5 km grid resolution, from 2007 to 2017; (v) the latest European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) fifth reanalysis dataset ERA5 from 2007 to 2017, and (vi) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) winds from Sentinel-1 and RadarSat. A comprehensive SFMR wind statistical analysis using dropsonde data has been done and the impact of the so-called WL150 algorithm used to compute the dropsonde 10-m winds on the SFMR/dropsonde statistics has been evaluated. The quality of buoy winds between 15 m/s and 25 m/s is thoroughly evaluated. Subsequently, the ASCAT and SAR high-wind performance and calibration are investigated with respect to collocated SFMR winds. ASCAT surface winds are moreover used as a reliable and stable calibration reference to bridge buoy and SFMR/dropsonde collocations, to allow indirect inter-comparison between such datasets at the scatterometer scale, as sufficient direct collocations of buoy and dropsonde winds are not available. The inconsistencies between buoy and SFMR/dropsonde are discussed and a correction to the ASCAT wind products in order to match the so-called dropsonde wind speed scale has been proposed, which will constitute the basis for the calibration of all medium-resolution swath-based active and passive systems in MAXSS. This is not based on the correctness of the dropsonde winds, but on the fact that dropsonde winds are used by the operational forecasting community, irrespective of their quality (Stoffelen et al., 2021).



This series of projects (2021-Present), funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), concerns the scientific exploitation of the radiometric data from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite mission to infer surface wind speed in stormy conditions ( This activity started with the SMOS+STORM feasibility (2012-2014) and then the SMOS+STORM evolution (2014-2017) projects which later evolved into a (quasi-) operational service: the "SMOS Wind Data Service", now producing NRT wind speed from SMOS (within 4 to 6 hours from acquisition). The objective of this project is to exploit the identified capability of SMOS satellite Brightness Temperatures acquired at L-band to monitor wind speed and whitecap statistical properties beneath TCs and ETCs. Such new capability at the core of the project was demonstrated during the ESA SMOS+ STORM Feasibility support to science element (STSE) project, which ran from January 2012 until September 2013. The primary aim of the study was to establish if SMOS could retrieve meaningful surface wind speed in TCs and storms. This was successfully demonstrated by analysing SMOS data over the category 4 hurricane IGOR that developed in September 2010 [Reul et al. JGR, 2012]. A follow-on project called SMOS+STORMS Evolution started in April 2014 for a period of 2 years and was funded by ESA again under the STSE program. Five years of SMOS L-band brightness temperature data intercepting a large number of TCs were analyzed. An improved empirical geophysical model function (GMF) was derived using a large ensemble of collocated SMOS storm-induced brightness temperature residuals ΔI, and aircraft and H*WIND (a multi-measurement analysis) surface wind speed data. The GMF reveals a quadratic relationship between ΔI and the surface wind speed at a height of 10 m (U10). Based on those results, the user community has expressed its interest for a systematic data generation of such innovative data products in NRT for TC and ETC prediction and monitoring systems in the context of maritime applications and Numerical Weather Prediction operational centres activities. In particular, the community encourages the use and evaluation of wind fields from L-band radiometers (SMOS and SMAP) for determining intensity and 34-, 50-, and 64-kt radii in TC. In consequence, ESA has decided to implement an operational service to provide NRT sea surface wind speed derived from the SMOS brightness temperature measurements. The so-called "SMOS NRT wind data service" now provides NRT data as described in Note, that our US colleagues from REMSS and JPL have also developed L-band derived wind speed products from the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. Combined SMOS and SMAP bring regular and consistent observations on the wind structure in storms to help in TC and associated wave and storm surge forecasting, as well as to complement available data for operational and WMO warning centers. The developed L-band extreme-wind GMFs will be revisited in MAXSS.



The CYclone Monitoring Service with S-1 (CYMS, 2019-2020) is a 12 months ESA project led by CLS with IFREMER as project partner. The main goal is to scale up an operational service for organizing the routine acquisition of Sentinel-1 over Tropical Cyclone as well as the Level-1 data processing into Level-2 ocean surface wind and the Level-2 product dissemination in near-real time, in view of its potential integration as part of a Copernicus Service. The service will provide validated and fully acknowledged products, be consistent, standardized, interoperable and harmonized. The service includes not only Near Real Time (NRT) operational wind field products, but also an archive center ensuring a continual improvement cycle and full data uptake by stakeholders. These data are freely available and IFREMER is in charge of maintaining an up-to-date database of Sentinel-1 and Radarsat-2 derived ocean surface wind products. This database is available on CYMS FTP site (CyclObs) and is being used in the context of MAXSS. An ESA CCN is being discussed with ESA for 2021.



The Brittany Remote Sensing Group (BreTel, 2009-Present) is a regional structure which aims to promote and support the development and use of space technologies and applications in Brittany. BreTel animates, federates and supports the regional spatial ecosystem by bringing together public and private players in research, innovation and economic development, training and data use. As one of the eleven BreTel members, IFREMER has access to Radarsat-2 data. The team has regularly collected Radarsat-2 acquisitions over Tropical Cyclones using this access. The data are being used in the context of MAXSS.



In the framework of ESA Dragon programme, the team collaborates with Chinese teams on the Tropical Cyclone subject since Dragon-4 (, 2016-2020). The collaboration during Dragon-4 project led to 16 joint publications in rank-1 peer-reviewed journals by the European consortium and proceedings in various conferences. A new proposal was submitted to ESA and accepted for Dragon-5 ( in March 2020, thus extending this type of activities for another 4 years. In particular, Dragon-5 focuses on the interactions between ocean and atmosphere in the case of TCs and Extra-Tropical Cyclones (ETCs). The consortium has also slightly modified to include OceanDataLab and to build on their expertise and tool to set up a training course on Extremes. The main scientific objectives are to develop data-model-driven techniques dedicated to extreme marine-atmosphere events, to provide new insights for air-sea exchanges processes parameterization under extreme conditions, and to drive the specifications of new generation of observation networks for TC monitoring. The project also aims at training young scientists. It includes three PhD students and will elaborate new material for a new tutorial on the benefit of adopting a multi-modal approach to characterize TCs and ETCs. This collaboration will benefit MAXSS as the three PhD will use data from the storm atlas and produce feedback as early-adopters. Moreover, the tutorial developed for Dragon-5 training courses will partly rely on the material produced during this project and will serve to communicate on the storm atlas and available data collected during the project.


 Sentinel-1 MPC

The Mission Performance Center Sentinel-1 (MPC, 2014-Present) is an ESA project for monitoring Copernicus/ESA Sentinel-1 SAR, Level-1 and Level-2 products performances and improving the algorithms. Part of our consortium (IFREMER and CLS) is involved in this project. The connection with the MPC is useful to work with the best Sentinel-1 products. In particular, the efforts done through MPC to improve the Level-1 product quality (e.g. annotated noise in the products) and to upgrade the Level-2 products (quality, wind direction, geophysical model function) are very relevant for MAXSS. Moreover, the MPC has the capacity to reprocess Level-1 data with homogeneous quality and possibly to upgrade the ESA level-2 product.



The CFOSAT for Ocean Waves Study (COWS, 2018-2020) consists of research activities for developing a consistent description of hurricane generated waves and hurricane winds using multi-sensor wind/wave observations. This is done in the framework of the CNES CFOSAT mission and heavily relies on Sentinel-1 and CFOSAT-SWIM sensors for wave characterization. The output of this project is indeed very relevant for MAXSS since storm-induced waves are part of the storm Atlas and can be used to help validate retrieval parameters (vortex intensity, peak intensity, inflow characteristics, inner core areas, etc.).


ALERTNESS (2018-2022)

The Norwegian Research Council nationally coordinated project aims at advancing numerical weather forecast in the Arctic (, 2018-2022). The research in this project provides for our knowledge of weather conditions in the Arctic, which in turn provides better forecasts of potentially dangerous, extreme weather situations. The goal is to provide better warnings up to three days in the future. The project is required for MET Norway to fulfil its mandate, as well as established mechanisms between the service provider and the user community. It includes the exploration of the added value of new satellite observations and assimilation of NRT remotely sensed data. The main modeling tool of the project is the operational consortium weather forecast model HIRLAM-HARMONIE and its Arctic version HARMONIE-ARCTIC. It will identify and focus on weather situations that have major significance for users of the Arctic region, which includes improved Polar Low forecasting, a relevant topic for MAXSS. Note that KNMI is involved in ALERTNESS for satellite wind data assimilation.


 SERUS (2020-2023)

The international project “Building Socio-Ecological Resilience through Urban Green, Blue and White Space” (SERUS, 2020-2023) is an initiative to improve Arctic urban resilience funded by the Belmont Forum. The project supports transdisciplinary collaboration of research partners from Norway, USA and Russia. It seeks to advance a cross-disciplinary climate-ecology-policy (CEP) approach to this challenge. The main objective of the project is to integrate diverse resilience indicators, and to create holistic understanding of urban open space in the Arctic cities. The evaluation of the urban Arctic exposure to extreme weather events is one of the resilience building priorities in the project. SERUS will contribute to MAXSS with remote sensing studies of extreme wind and surface temperature over water bodies in the vicinity of selected Arctic urban areas. SERUS focuses on high-resolution data that are validated through quadcopter measurements and imagery. In turn, MAXSS can contribute to the SERUS studies with information on extreme winds and cold air outbreaks. Little or no ground-based observations are available in the majority of the Arctic settlements. In such circumstances, remote sensing becomes indispensable for advance warming and raising preparedness. Improved forecasting and high-resolution monitoring of Polar Lows is thought as indispensable component of the urban resilience. Thus, perhaps for the first time, the MAXSS results will directly address the gap in scales of resilience actions and available data, targeting infrastructure resilience through quantification of the extremes and their impact on cities.



The Satellite Oceanographic Datasets for Acidification (OceanSODA,, 2018-Present) project is developing the use of Earth Observation data for studying and monitoring the marine carbonate chemistry (inorganic carbon). The project is identifying optimal methods to link satellite variables with surface marine carbonate system parameters. The new algorithms and methods are then being used to characterize and analyze how upwelling (of low pH waters) and oceanic compound events impact the carbonate system and marine fisheries, and characterizing the flow and impact on marine ecosystems of low pH waters from large river systems such as the Amazon and the Congo. The OceanSODA scientific lead is Jamie Shutler, who is also taking part in MAXSS. The MAXSS consortium will be able to access all of the OceanSODA outputs and datasets for investigating links between storm events and changes in inorganic carbon biogeochemistry.




Building on recommendations made in a series of recent meetings and reports, on ESA lead initiatives and projects and on other relevant international programs, the objective of the ESA-funded Biological Pump and Carbon Exchange Processes (BICEP,, 2020-2022) project is to bring these developments together into an holistic exercise to further advance our capacity to better characterize from a synergetic use of space data, in-situ measurements and model outputs, the different components of the ocean biological carbon pump (mainly organic carbon), its pools and fluxes, its variability in space and time and the understanding of its processes and interactions with the Earth system. Jamie Shutler, involved in MAXSS and advisor (unfunded collaborator) in BICEP, will ensure that the MAXSS biogeochemistry analysis benefits from the recent developments and datasets from this project.





The wind section of the EUMETSAT OSI SAF, led by KNMI, provides user services to complement their 24/7 NRT scatterometer wind product flow and the Climate Data Records (CDR) produced, i.e., satellite instrument cal/val, monitoring, quality assessment, wind calibration, including extremes, service messaging, help desk and user training in nowcasting, NWP and oceanography. Moreover, the L2 processing software for the constellation of scatterometers is available publicly through the EUMETSAT NWP SAF. The OSI SAF continuously scientifically publishes on all aspects of scatterometer processing, including on extremes. The OSI SAF processor development strategy has been and is closely compatible with DevOps. See for an overview of all KNMI scatterometer activities. The OSI SAF products are key in severe weather forecasting, be it TC, ETC or PLs. The popular clickable NRT visualization of wind events is available through the OSI SAF tile viewer.




The EU Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) Wind Thematic Assembly Centre (Wind TAC) produces L3 and L4 earth-gridded products, mainly from the EUMETSAT OSI SAF NRT and CDR data sets, including references of 10-m stress-equivalent winds from ERA5 and ECMWF operations. Besides winds, also wind stress, their spatial derivatives and Ekman pumping fields are routinely provided by the production units at KNMI and IFREMER, along with so-called ocean monitoring indicators and ocean state reports, e.g., Schuckmann et al. (2021), where the Wind TAC covered the extreme Venice floods of November 2019.


CGMS Ocean Surface Wind Task Group


KNMI leads the Coordination Group of Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) Ocean Surface Winds Task Group (OSW TG), as part of the International Winds Working Group (IWWG). The OSW TG is actioned to develop the international satellite OSW community and make recommendations on optimization and exploitation of the Virtual Constellation of satellite wind sensors, in coordination with CEOS in the atmosphere and the IOVWST. The CGMS, constituting as member or observer, all main satellite operators, the IOC and WMO, further actively seeks advice from the IWWG and OSW TG. The OSW TG seeks to coordinate wind missions and their Local Solar Times (LST) to cover the diurnal cycle, including risk and redundancy. It further provides expert community support for commissioning and intercalibration of instruments, actively stimulates data exchange, ground segment and timeliness. It further encourages product comparison studies, product intercalibration, validation and verification standards, preferably through open and version-controlled software. It links mission monitoring and visualization for user benefit and provides transparency in processing, standards, user guidance and user access by facilitating service messages and nowcasting alerts for example. It covers both swath-based and gridded and NRT and CDR products. Finally, it supports efforts to prevent Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). Through connection with WMO and IOC, formal requests to other communities are feasible, e.g., the in-situ wind community.