The objectives of OPERA are:

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

The tasks

The central tasks of OPERA are:

  • To operate and develop the Odyssey 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) and encoding/decoding software  for formats such as HDF5 and BUFR;
  • 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 requirements

The main requirements for  OPERA are:

  • Continuing the work of previous OPERA phases – including data hub Odyssey which has been running since 2012;
  • The maintenance of the existing NMSs OPERA database of metadata of members‘ radars;
  • A study programme addressing future plans, specification of production practices, quality information, current and developing algorithms will be pursued.
  • OPERA 4 will continue the task for defining and promoting common data exchange formats;
  • The EUMETNET external website for public visibility and information distribution to stakeholders (map of radars, file format description for industry,…) will be continuously serviced;
  • Succession plans for key players is provided and updated;
  • Further improvements of the Odyssey portability focus on several scenarios according to results of the study programme above. Replacement of present system to another centre and simultaneously the possibility to run regionally tailored versions as part of national infrastructure at member institute’s facilities will be explored;
  • INSPIRE compliance both in respect to data policy issues and technical details will be tackled by a review/survey of best practices in among OPERA members;
  • OPERA composite products are made available to 3rd Parties;
  • Cooperation with WMO in the context of WIGOS.


The organisation

The current phase of OPERA will last 2013-2018.
The Coordinating Member is the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the Project Manager is Dr. Elena Saltikoff.

More information

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 Surface rain rate composite each composite pixel is a weighted average of the lowest valid pixels of the contributing radars, weighted by the inverse of the beam altitude. Polar cells within a search radius of 2.5 km of the composite pixel are considered. Data measured below 200 m altitude are not used. 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 surface 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 4 (2013-2018)

Selected Deliverables of OPERA 3 (2007-2012)

OPERA Database