Feature - 120130 - Metop-B (lrg)

Metop Global Data Service


Feature - 120130 - Metop-B (lrg)
Feature - 120130 - Metop-B (lrg)

The Metop Global Data Service (GDS) provides near real-time products to the user community generated from instrument data.

Last Updated

31 May 2022

Published on

27 April 2020

Instrument data recorded during the last orbit of Metop are dumped to the Central Data Acquisition Station (CDA) located in Svalbard and the Antarctic Data Acquisition service (ADA) at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Weekly orbit dump information can be found on the McMurdo orbit dumps page.

Data delivery timeliness

The addition of the ADA service, for the prime satellite Metop-B, has halved the data transfer from satellite to ground station. Close to 14 orbits include ADA dumps. The average timeliness of products extracted from Metop-B data has improved, on average, from 59 minutes to 47 minutes.

McMurdo Station hosts the McMurdo Ground Station (MGS), which acquires the Metop satellite descending orbit global data dumps, while the NOAA-NSF McMurdo Multi-mission Communications System (MMCS) transfers the data from Antarctica to EUMETSAT’s operations control centre in Darmstadt.

Upon reception at EUMETSAT, the McMurdo acquired half-orbit is immediately processed and disseminated to users, and subsequently complemented with the second-half (ascending) orbit acquired at Metop’s existing primary ground station in Svalbard, thereby ensuring improved timeliness in the delivery of data measured throughout the Metop orbit.

Svalbard transfer speed increases

In 2013, following the successful launch of Metop-B, enhancements were made to the transfer speed on the fibre link between Svalbard and Darmstadt. As a result, the average timeliness also significantly improved for the non-ADA supported passes of Metop-A and Metop-C.

Product overview


ATOVS products from the radiance measurements of the ATOVS instruments (AMSU-A, HIRS and MHS), provide atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, total ozone and other parameters in both clear and cloudy atmospheres.


AVHRR has applications within operational meteorology — measuring cloud properties (height, temperature, phase); land analysis — supplying data for calculating vegetation indices, soil moisture, snow cover, and land surface temperature (skin); ocean analysis — supplying data for deriving sea surface temperature and sea ice concentration, and aerosols and fire detection.


GRAS provides a minimum of 500 stratospheric and tropospheric temperature and humidity profiles, per day, by a process of GPS radio occultation, as well as the ionosphere total electron content. It also provides navigation solutions of the Metop satellite position along its orbit.


IASI provides highly detailed global measurements of atmospheric temperature and water vapour, making it possible to ascertain temperature and humidity profiles with a vertical resolution of 1km, accurate to 1°C and 10% respectively, and a horizontal sampling of 20km.


GOME-2 measures profiles and total columns of ozone, and other atmospheric constituents that are related to the depletion of ozone in the stratosphere and its production in the troposphere and natural and anthropogenic sources of pollution. Long-time series of ozone and water vapour total columns retrieved by GOME-2 will also significantly improve our capability of medium and long-term climate forecasting and modelling.


ASCAT measures wind speed and direction over the oceans. The main operational application is the assimilation of ocean winds in NWP models. Other operational applications, based on the use of measurements of the backscattering coefficient, are sea ice edge detection and monitoring, monitoring sea ice, snow cover and land surface parameters.

Product Group Timeliness Data Access
SEM Level 0 2 hrs 15 mins Data centre. Web services
AVHRR Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. Data centre
AMSU-A Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
HIRS Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
MHS Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
IASI Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
ASCAT Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
GRAS Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
GOME-2 Level 1 2 hrs 15 mins EUMETCast. Data centre
ATOVS sounding products 3 hrs EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
IASI sounding products 3 hrs EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
ASCAT Soil Moisture 3 hrs EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
AVHRR Winds 3 hrs EUMETCast. GTS/RMDC. Data centre
Multi-sensor products 3 hrs EUMETCast. Data centre

For the full list of global products and further information on their availability, please consult the Product Navigator.

Product processing

Global data products are categorised according to instrument and product level. Definition of the different product levels:

  • Level 0: Raw data after restoration of the chronological data sequence for each instrument, i.e. after de-multiplexing of the data by instrument, removal of any data overlap due to the data dump procedure and relevant quality checks. Raw instrument data information (telemetry packets) is maintained during this process.
  • Level 1a: Instrument data in full resolution with radiometric and geometric (i.e. Earth location) calibration computed and appended but not applied.
  • Level 1b: Calibrated, Earth located and quality controlled product, in the original pixel location, and packaged with needed ancillary, engineering and auxiliary data.
  • Level 1c: In case of the IASI spectra, level 1b data after application of the apodization function.
  • Level 2: Earth located values converted to geophysical parameters, at the same spatial and temporal sampling as the level 1b and 1c data.
  • Level 3: Gridded point geophysical products on a multi-pass basis, or resampled products (applicable for some Satellite Application Facility (SAF) products).

For further information, see EPS Generic Product Format Specification.

Data granules generated for dissemination are Product Dissemination Units (PDUs), containing about three minutes of instrument-specific observation data. PDUs are independent, self-standing entities, i.e., not just slices of a full orbit product. The timeliness requirement for PDUs is 2 hours 15 mins (ADA target 70 mins) for Level 1 products, and three hours for Level 2 products. Timeliness is measured as the time between sensing and reception at a EUMETCast reference station.

PDUs are disseminated in the EPS native format and/or in BUFR format, depending on the instrument and processing level.

PDUs in EPS native format are structured in sections:

  • Header section — providing general data.
  • Pointer section — allowing navigation within the product file.
  • Global Aux Data section — defining data used in the processing for the entire product.
  • Variable Aux Data section — defining data used in the processing for part of the product.
  • Body section — containing the measurement data itself.

Access to the data and products typically involves an initial registration process. For further information, please visit our Data registration page, or register on the Earth Observation Portal (EOP).