Remote sensing data, provided in real time by weather satellites, give information on weather conditions across the globe, also help to improve very short-term weather forecasting (nowcasting).

Today’s satellite platforms host radiometers and scatterometers that measure the planet’s electromagnetic energy, providing crucial information about cloud bodies. The spectral bands of acquisition are the visible, infrared, and microwave, from which reflected, absorbed, and emitted radiation from clouds and/or the Earth’s surface can be captured. There are also satellites used in the weather-climate field for measuring important atmospheric parameters such as surface temperature, carbon dioxide, ozone and ice extent.

The Italian territory is constantly monitored by meteorological, geostationary and polar satellites belonging to European organizations such as EUMETSAT and ESA, as well as non-European organizations such as NASA, NOAA, DMSP and JAXA. These satellite constellations acquire data in the visible, infrared, and microwave ranges, providing real-time information, either directly or indirectly, on cloud systems, precipitation intensities, estimated wind (direction and intensity), atmospheric composition, solar radiation, sea and land temperature, surface humidity, temperature and water vapor profiles, as well as snow and glacier extent.

 Currently, satellite data and products are used at the  Italian Air Force Meteorological Service Service, Regional Meteorological Services, the Central Functional Center of the Department of Civil Protection, and Decentralized Functional Centers. The CNR, together with universities and research foundations, develops products and services at the national and international level. The main data and products of EUMETSAT and NOAA are available to most weather agencies through EUMETCAST.

The European Intergovernmental Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites EUMETSAT, of which Italy has been a member since 1986, currently sees the third generation of Meteosat geostationary satellites (Meteosat Third Generation – MTG) in orbit, which allow very precise observation of the evolution of the state of the atmosphere, Earth and oceans.

 Also very relevant are data from the SAF program and in particular H-SAF (EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility on Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management) for estimating meteorological and hydrological quantities for operational purposes.