Observations & Data Technology


The department R&D Observations and Data technology (RDWD) optimizes the performance of geophysical observing systems and data (from sensor to services) and is focal point for the knowledge and innovation in this field. The main expertise and innovation areas of RDWD are

  • Observation infrastructure, instrumentation, and data processing
  • Data and information products and services
  • Data technology and data management

Observation infrastructure, instrumentation, and data processing

Our R&D in the area focuses on meteorological observation techniques and products that are essential for the operational services and atmospheric research of KNMI. In addition, observations are used to study topics such as atmospheric processes and recent climate variability and change, and to validate satellite observations. For these activities a development laboratory and test field in De Bilt and atmospheric research facilities around the KNMI measurement mast in Cabauw are used. Within the current collaboration of the Dutch atmospheric research community named Ruisdael Observatory, the Cabauw site has developed into the main national atmospheric observational site. The Cabauw site has now become part of the European research infrastructures ICOS (integrated carbon observing system) and ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure).

Continuity and quality of the meteorological surface observations are of crucial importance to end users in weather, climate and aeronautical application areas. An important part of RDWDs efforts go towards understanding and improving meteorological measurements from sensor to end product, including their calibration, underlying algorithms, validation and traceability to international standards.

Data and information products and services

RDWD innovates and manages the collection, processing and analysis of surface climate observations in Europe and beyond.  Based on observations, advanced climate services are developed. The most important example is the European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D). For other parts of the world where the availability of regional climate information is still limited, the same concept is applied in the International Climate Assessment & Dataset (ICA&D). The spatial and temporal coverage of these regional datasets is improved by engaging in digitizing projects of historical climate records.

Data technology and data management

In the area of data technology RDWD contributes to the developments of an optimal infrastructure for acquiring, processing, retrieving, and visualizing data that are essential for KNMI. Products are developed that facilitate the use of the big amount of data that KNMI receives and processes daily, with a focus on quality, availability and applicability. RDWD develops and manages the KNMI data platform through which KNMI distributes its open data. Other recent developments are the KNMI’s new meteorological work station Geoweb and major components of KNMI’s Early Warning Centre products and workflows.  

More information

Auxiliary information on the department activities is provided by a few selected researchers that present their work on their individual webpage (link below). Here not all research staff is represented. All publications of the department can be found in the KNMI publication database.

Individual Researchers

Individual Researchers