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CYMS (Scaling-up Cyclone Monitoring Service with Sentinel-1)



CYMS is an ESA-funded project aiming at scaling up an operational service for Tropical Cyclone (TC) monitoring, in view of its potential integration as part of a Copernicus Service. The main scientific and technical objectives are to:

  • Develop a sustainable acquisition strategy dedicated to TC ;
  • Consolidate S-1 end-to-end processing chains for ocean surface wind field with dedicated and up-to-date algorithms for extreme events ;
  • Build an archive center with homogeneous and consistent l2 products, for the TC product validation purpose and scientific applications ;
  • Build a single integrated portal easing dissemination and outreach activities.

Key results

CYMS has demonstrated during the 2020 Tropical Cyclone season the potential of Copernicus Sentinel-1 C-band SAR constellation for delivering high resolution observations of the ocean surface wind over storms. More than 90 scenes of TC have been acquired worldwide with Sentinel-1 A, Sentinel-1 B and Radarsat-2 thanks to the late programming acquisitions. These images have been processed into a new product dedicated to extreme events with information on the TC ocean surface wind structure including a unique view of the TC inner core thanks to the unique S1 and RS2 capabilities. CYMS also maintains a unique archive of homogeneously reprocessed high-resolution SAR observations over TC.

In parallel, a user survey has been undertaken to collect users’ requirements. The user feedback on the data confirms that the capabilities of SAR to probe the ocean surface at high resolution is unique and offer potential for science applications related to the analysis of the TC inner core structure, possibly bringing new insight on the processes within the eye. Those observations are also crucial over regions lacking any aircraft observation or ground-based meteorological radars for monitoring and validating the cyclone forecasts. One of the main requirements is the need for Near Real-Time distributions of CYMS observations to allow for their operational use. However, operational applications and in particular TC forecasting implies a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) and Near-Real Time (NRT).

Apart from the tropical area, our survey also reveals an interest for such a service over European waters to assist the monitoring of other extreme events such as extra-tropical cyclones, medicanes or polar lows.

Some examples of CYMS products, distributed in 2020, are shown below:

Typhoon Goni, imaged by Copernicus Senitnel-1B on 2020/10/31 21:30 UTC. Maximum ocean surface sustained wind speed estimated over 60 m/s with unique high-resolution observation of coastal winds while flying over Catanduanes Island (Philippines).


S1-A and -B acquisition plans on 15 Sept. 2020 to monitor the three simultaneous TC in the North Atlantic Ocean: Paulette, Sally and Teddy. EW and IW mode acquisitions appear in green and red, respectively


Summary of C-band SAR data acquired over Tropical Cyclone in 2020. Left: location. Right: time.


Additional links

Data access & visualization (NRT and Archive):

Twitter account:

Scientific Papers


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