OVERVIEW


Introduction
H-SAF brochure (download)

The "EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management (H-SAF)" was established by the EUMETSAT Council on 3 July 2005, and kicked-off on 16 September 2005, as part of the EUMETSAT SAF Network (fig. 1)

Figure 1

The Development Phase covered 5 years, until September 2010, and was followed by a first Continuous Development and Operation Phase lasting 18 months, during which the operations and dissemination of several products started. In March 2012 the Programme entered its Second Continuous Development and Operation Phase, which will last until February 2017.






The H-SAF objectives are:
  • to provide new satellite-derived products from existing and future satellites with sufficient time and space resolution to satisfy the needs of operational hydrology, by mean of the following identified products:
    • precipitation (liquid, solid, rate, accumulated);
    • soil moisture (at large-scale, at local-scale, at surface, in the roots region);
    • snow parameters (detection, cover, melting conditions, water equivalent);
  • to perform independent validation of the usefulness of the new products for fighting against floods, landslides, avalanches, and evaluating water resources; the activity includes:
    • downscaling/upscaling modelling from observed/predicted fields to basin level;
    • fusion of satellite-derived measurements with data from radar and raingauge networks;
    • assimilation of satellite-derived products in hydrological models;
    • assessment of the impact of the new satellite-derived products on hydrological applications.
Figure 2

The H-SAF generates and archives high-quality data sets and products for operational hydrological applications starting from the acquisition and processing of data from Earth observation satellites in geostationary and polar orbits operated both by EUMETSAT and other satellite organization

The retrieval of products uses data from microwave and infrared instruments and aims at reaching the best possible accuracy compatible with satellite systems as available today or in the near future.

H-SAF applications fit with the objectives of other European and international programmes (including GMES) with special relevance to those initiatives which want to mitigate hazards and natural disasters such as flash floods, forest fires, landslides and drought conditions, and improve water management.


Dissemination

All NRT SAF Products are sent via EUMETCast; all Off-line SAF Products are available via the EUMETSAT Data Centre. The H-SAF area for product spatial coverage is delimited to following coordinates: 25°N to 75°N latitude, 25°W to 45°E longitude. Enlargement of the spatial coverage to Africa and Southern Atlantic is foreseen during CDOP-2.



Benefits and addressed user communities

Entity

Application

Precipitation

Soil moisture

Snow parameters

Operational hydrological units Fluvial basins management Early warning of potential floods. Landslides and runoff (forecasting). Evaluation of flood damping or enhancing factors.
Territory management Extreme events statistics and hydrological risk mapping. Soil characterisation and hydrological response units. Dimes and exploitation of snow and glaciers for river regime regularisation.
Public works planning.
Water reservoirs evaluation Inventory of potential stored water resources. Monitoring of available water to sustain vegetation. Dimes and exploitation of snow and glaciers for drinkable water and irrigation.
National meteorological services Numerical Weather Prediction Assimilation to represent latent heat release inside the atmosphere. Input of latent heat by evapotranspiration through the Planetary Boundary Layer. Input of radiative heat from surface to atmosphere.
Evaluation of NWP model’s skill.
Nowcasting Public information on actual weather. Warning on the status of the territory for transport in emergencies. Warning of avalanches.
Warning for fishery and coastal zone activities. Tourism information.
Warning for agricultural works and crop protection. Assistance to aviation during take-off and landing.
Climate monitoring Representation of the global water cycle in General Circulation Models. Monitoring of desertification processes. Monitoring glacier extension.
Monitoring changes of planetary albedo.
Operational Oceanography Numerical Ocean Circulation models Assimilation of fresh water input to represent density, salinity and heat release inside the Ocean.    
Operational Climatology Numerical Atmosphere & Ocean coupled models Assimilation of fresh water input to represent density, salinity and heat release inside the Ocean.    
Civil defence Preparation for emergencies Progressive level of attention function of rainfall monitoring. Monitoring soil moisture growth. Monitoring snow accumulation.
Preparation of facilities and staff for a possible emergency. Planning of in-field activities for event mitigation. Planning of in-field activities for event mitigation.
Emergency management Alert to population. Operational conditions for transport and use of staff and mitigation facilities. Operational conditions for transport and use of staff and mitigation facilities.
Post-emergency phase De-ranking of alert level and monitoring of event ceasing. Withdrawing of staff and mitigation facilities. Withdrawing of staff and mitigation facilities.
Assessment of vulnerability to possible event iteration. Assessment of vulnerability to possible event iteration.
Research & development activities Meteorology Improved knowledge of the precipitation process. Assessment of the role of observed soil moisture in NWP, either for verification or initialisation. Assessment of the role of observed snow parameters in NWP, either for verification or initialisation.
Assimilation of precipitation observation in NWP models.
Hydrology Downscaling/upscaling of satellite precipitation observations. Downscaling/upscaling of satellite soil moisture observations. Downscaling/upscaling of satellite snow observations.
Fusion with ground-based observations. GIS-based fusion with ground-based observations. GIS-based fusion with ground-based observations.
Assimilation and impact studies. Assimilation and impact studies. Assimilation and impact studies.
Civil defence Decisional models for the alert system. Organizational models for operating over moist soil. Organizational models for operating over snow.
Oceanographic units Evaluation as part of the global water cycle.