Extreme Weather Convective Storm Nowcasting via On-Board Satellite Processing

I. Bravo(1), A. Fiengo(1), R. Hinz(1), C. Marcos(2), M. Kerr(1)

(1) DEIMOS Space S.L.U., Tres Cantos – Madrid, Spain, Email:

{juan-ignacio.bravo, aniello.fiengo, robert.hinz, murray.kerr}@deimos-space.com

(2) Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, Spain, Email: cmarcosm@aemet.es


Nowcasting and Very Short Range Forecasting products designed for detecting and alerting on severe weather conditions, when based on earth observation (EO) by remote-sensing satellites, require very short latencies between the data acquisition on-board the spacecraft and the delivery of observation images and meteorological products to the end-user on ground. The current state-of-the-art in Europe for such EO nowcasting products achieves latencies in the range of 15 to 30 minutes for the lowest latency EO-based products. When based on GEO satellites such as MSG (Meteosat Second Generation), the capability to lower this latency further would require faster scanning by the satellite payload and faster transmission of the payload data to ground and processing on ground. This architecture however suffers from the bottleneck inherently created by the classical EO data chain for the generation of the EO products, of acquisition, compression and transfer to ground of the payload raw data, followed by ground processing.

The H2020 EU project EO-ALERT (see, http://eo-alert-h2020.eu/) addresses this problem by moving essential parts of the data and image processing chain from the ground segment to on-board the satellite, thus decreasing the amount of data transferred to ground and shortening delay times; EO products are generated directly on-board the spacecraft.

Here we present the EO-ALERT’s system for nowcasting and early warnings of convective storms designed for on-board satellite processing. The first product being developed is based on and calibrated to the “Rapid Development Thunderstorms” (RDT) product developed by the Eumetsat Nowcasting SAF. Applied to SEVIRI images of the MSG satellites, the system is able to discriminate between the stages of evolution of convective storm cells and to send the processed information and EO-product to ground within 5 minutes of the observation. Validation is performed using a specifically created dataset, corresponding to extreme convective weather events occurred over 85 days, composed of MSG images and OPERA weather-radar network composites.

This paper will provide an overview of the overall system, focusing on the algorithmic approaches and their validation against both the OPERA data and the results of the RDT product run on-ground.

© 2019 EO-ALERT All Rights Reserved