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Project Overview

What are Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRM):

“Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRM) are a suite of independent, fully characterized, and traceable ground measurements that follow the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) GEO/CEOS Quality Assurance framework for Earth Observation (QA4EO). These FRM provide the maximum Return On Investment (ROI) for a satellite mission by delivering, to users, the required confidence in data products, in the form of independent validation results and satellite measurement uncertainty estimation, over the entire end-to-end duration of a satellite mission."
For more information on the different FRM projects please look at ESA's webpage here.

In general, FRM will provide:

  • Document evidence of its traceability
  • Detail an uncertainty budget for the instrumentation and measurement process for
    the range of conditions it is used over
  • Adhere to community agreed measurement protocols and management practises

So FRMs will be an independent validation and characterization of satellite measurement uncertainty, over the entire end-to-end duration of a satellite mission.

The FRM4RADAR Project:

The ESA-funded FRM4Radar project a network of three 94-GHz profiling radars will be developed and operated in Europe. The mini 94-GHz radar network makes it possible to get measurement representing to some extend the different weather and cloud conditions present over continental Europe. The measurements from the three initial stations are expected to provide sufficient samples for the calibration and validation (Cal/Val) of the Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) on board the ESA Earth Cloud Aerosols and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) mission that is scheduled for launch in  2021.

The project is divided into the following tasks focusing on:

  • The procurement, set-up and testing of the radar instruments for such a network
  • Defining of an operation procedures and data handling procedures for the satellite Cal\Val activities
  • Development of specific products for EarthCARE Cal/Val.


University of Cologne, Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology

Prof. Dr. Pavlos Kollias 


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Löhnert


Dr. Lukas Pfitzenmaier


Annika Dähne



National Institute of Research and Development in Optoelectronics (INOE)

Dr. Doina Nicolae


Dr. Anca Nemuc


Dr. Bogdan Antonescu bogdan.antonescu@inoe.ro


Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)

Dr. Anke Thoss                    anke.thoss@smhi.se
Dr. Ulrika Willén ulrika.willen@smhi.se
Dr. Salomon Eliasson salomon.eliasson@smhi.se


Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)

Dr. Ewan O’Connor