NWP SAF Workshop on Satellite Observations of the Earth System Interfaces

ECMWF | Reading, UK | 19-22 November 2024


Interface observations refer to observations that are sensitive to multiple Earth system components, including atmosphere, land, sea ice, snow, and the ocean. They are key for Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) and reanalysis. In a coupled data assimilation framework, used in Earth system approaches, satellite-sensed interface observations have the unique potential to simultaneously constrain the various Earth system components, providing consistent initial and boundary conditions to Earth system prediction models.  

Examples of interface observations are window channels from passive microwave or infrared instruments, scatterometers, altimeters, cloud and aerosol-cleared visible observations. These observations are currently under-exploited in NWP due the challenges that constraining simultaneously the atmosphere and the surface (ocean/land) poses. While some of these observations are used in the atmospheric analysis, information on other Earth System components tends not to be utilised. Assimilation of such observations in a coupled system has the potential to unlock the previously discarded surface information while at the same time improve their use for the atmospheric analysis. Given that full exploitation of the observing system to improve NWP is at the heart of the mission of the EUMETSAT NWP_SAF, the focus workshop is very relevant to capture recent progress and the state of the art in this area, identify key issues and limitations, and discuss avenues for further developments. 

Workshop goals

The goals of this workshop are to: 

  1. provide an overview of the various interface observations which are available to the NWP community as well as of the forward models which are being developed or are already in use to exploit this type of observations, 
  2. assess the state-of-the-art on the use of interface observations both in retrievals and in coupled data assimilation systems and 
  3. understand the direction in which the scientific community is taking this important and complex problem.  

Working groups will discuss the current state of the art and provide recommendations for future developments. The output of the workshop will be shared with the community in the form of working group reports, identifying key recommendations for NWP centres. 


This is an in-person event and is by invitation only. A poster session will be organised to allow participants to share their results. Oral presentations are by invitation only.

If you have been invited and would like to attend, please submit the registration form by 1 October 2024.

If you have not been invited, but would like to attend, please contact events@ecmwf.int