OPERA is the Radar Programme of EUMETNET

The objectives of OPERA :

  • to provide a European platform wherein expertise on operationally-oriented weather radar issues is exchanged;
  • to develop, generate and distribute high-quality pan-European weather radar composite products  on an operational basis.


The key achievements of OPERA:

  • "high-quality pan-European weather radar composite products"

 OPERA has been coordinating radar data exchange in Europe for 20 years, and its data centres have been operational for almost a decade.

Main focus of this programme phase (2019-2023) is to gradually replace the data centre (Odyssey) with three production lines that will be able to serve better the disparate needs of different user groups, and to take benefit of national investment in radar upgrades 2012-2018, which have led to increased quality of incoming data.


The organisation

The current phase of OPERA will last from 2019-2023.
The Coordinating Member is the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the Project Manager is Dr. Annakaisa von Lerber.

For questions about OPERA data, please contact support.opera@eumetnet.eu

More information

Tasks & Requirements

The central tasks of OPERA are:

To operate and develop a data hub, which collects radar volume data, distributes quality flagged volume data to modelers and other radar data users, and produces quality controlled radar products;
To develop the OPERA Data Information Model (ODIM) 
To enhance expertise in the field of weather radar (hardware, software, products, quality, network design etc.) within EUMETNET and the whole weather radar community;
To provide support to its members in environmental and societal issues related to weather radars, such as radar siting, radio-frequency interference and the impact of wind farms;
To offer a forum for exchange of experience and for capacity building in the field of weather radars within EUMETNET;
To inform the wider operational and research community of its activities.

The main requirements for OPERA are:

Running a data hub and gradually replacing it with new production lines
Using the data hub to make data available for members and 3rd parties
Maintaining a database of metadata of members‘ radars
Pursuing a study programme addressing new technologies , quality information, current and developing algorithms 
Defining and promoting common data exchange formats;
Distributing information to stakeholders and gaining public visibility with the EUMETNET external website 
Cooperation with WMO in the context of WIGOS for global exchange of radar knowledge

OPERA Datacentre Odyssey

Odyssey, the OPERA Data Centre, generates and archives composite products from raw single site radar data using common pre-processing and compositing algorithms.

Odyssey creates 3 composite products:
– Instantaneous Surface Rain Rate
– Instantaneous Max Reflectivity
– 1 Hour Rainfall Accumulation

Composite product description
The composites cover the whole of Europe in a Lambert Equal Area projection. They are updated every 15 minutes, and issued ca. 15 minutes after data time.

 In the  rain rate composite each composite pixel is a weighted average of the valid pixels of the contributing radars, weighted by a quality index, the distance from center of the pixel and an exponential index related to inverse of the beam altitude. Polar cells within a search radius of 2.5 km of the composite pixel are considered. Measured reflectivity values are converted to rainfall (mm/h) using the Marshall-Palmer equation. Rainfall accumulation is simply the sum of the previous four 15-minute rain-rate products. In the maximum reflectivity composite each composite pixel contains the maximum of all polar cell values of the contributing radars at that location.

Composites are available in two formats: BUFR and HDF5. Each file has two fields: the data field and the quality field.

Access to data
The members of OPERA and EUMETNET may use the composites for their official duties without a separate licence.

The OPERA products are also available under license to 3rd parties:
– For national weather services not participating in OPERA which want to use the products to support their public weather service, contact info@eumetnet.eu
– For a research and education licence, contact info@eumetnet.eu
– For a licence to exploit the products commercially, contact one of the ECOMET members contact points or send a mail.

OPERA Software

The OPERA community has developed several software packages to enable exchange of radar data from different sources and manufacturers. User support is provided to the OPERA group and other users of the OPERA BUFR software, including commercial radar software suppliers. 

OPERA BUFR software encodes and decodes radar data in BUFR format. The encoder includes a pre-processor preparing an ASCII file as input to the final processor which then writes the binary data file. BUFR table maintenance includes defining new descriptors, sequences, and tables for use with OPERA BUFR software, where relevant and applicable.

Compositing software  Within the first OPERA Programme, compositing software has been developed that is available to all OPERA members. It is portable software that runs on all commonly available computer platforms.

Two software packages have been developed for transmitting data to the operational data hub:

BUFR exchange software  in the BUFR exchange software version 3.2.

HDF5 exchange software

Software and tables to download 

links to zip files 

  • PROJ4. cartographic projection software 
  • Example files in ODIM 2.2, HDF5: ENMI and EHDB


Software documentation
Documentation of the software, in PDF files


OPERA Publications

During the years, the OPERA community has produced an impressive library of documents, recommendations and definitions. Many of the early technical documents have now more of historical value.

One of OPERAs tasks is to provide support to its members in environmental and societal issues related to weather radars, such as radar siting, radio-frequency interference and the impact of wind farms. Some of the publications are related to this task.

Selected publications of OPERA 5 (2019-2023)

      •  Best practices for calibration and monitoring 25 October 2020
      •  ODIM version 2.4 (1 July 2021 – for old versions, see software        documentation in section above)

      •  OPERA-4: On the coexistence of weather radars and wind turbines, 25 February, 2022



Selected publications of OPERA 4 (2013-2018)

Selected Deliverables of OPERA 3 (2007-2012)

OPERA Database