Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management

The H SAF generates and archives high-quality datasets and products for operational hydrological applications.

SAF Official Service Name

Satellite Application Facility on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management (H SAF)

SAF on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management

SAF Objectives

The H SAF operationally generates, validates, distributes and archives high-quality datasets 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 organisations. The retrieval of products uses data from microwave and infrared instruments for the best possible accuracy compatible with satellite systems available now, or in the near future.

In short, the H SAF programme focuses on two main activities:

  1. Generation of products:
    • Precipitation products
    • Soil moisture products
    • Snow parameters
  2. Independent validation of the benefit of the new products for hydrological applications.

H SAF applications are foreseen to fit with the objectives of other European and international programmes — such as PREVIEW, CYCLOPS and Copernicus fast tracks — 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.

SAF Leader and Consortium


Leading Entity
USAM/CNMCA Ufficio Generale Spazio Aereo e Meteorologia, Italy

SAF Phases

Development Phase: September 2005–August 2010
Continuous Development and Operations Phase: September 2010–February 2012
Second Continuous Development and Operations Phase: March 2012–February 2017
Third Continuous Development and Operations Phase: March 2017–February 2022

SAF input satellite data

Operational Phase: Meteosat (SEVIRI) + Metop (AMSU-A, MHS, ASCAT, AVHRR) + Soumi NPP / JPSS (VIIRS, CMIS, ATMS) + further satellites of the GPM (all equipped at least with a MW radiometer, one also with radar)

SAF products

The SAF on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management has detailed information on the H SAF products. See the Product Navigator for detailed information on the H SAF products.

SAF topology and architecture

  • During operations the products generation chain is split into five physical locations (Italy, Austria & ECMWF, Finland & Turkey). The distribution of products to operational end-users, such as meteorological services and certain units of hydrological services and civil protection, conditioned by severe timeliness requirements, will be performed from the production centres, by EUMETCast and dedicated ftp sites.
  • The distribution of products to the scientific users, specifically in the countries involved in the Hydrological Validation Programme, will happen offline through the involvement of U-MARF, following procedures already being experienced in other SAFs.
  • There is an H SAF archive. The degree of centralisation versus distribution of the H SAF archive is a matter for in-depth study in the course of the project.

SAF user community

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, Operational Hydrological Units, Scientific Institutes, Civil Defence Authorities, Responsibles of Infrastructures planning.