14 November 2019 Community news

Met services prepare for next-generation satellite systems

Two next-generation meteorological satellites will help forecasters and climate scientists meet some of their biggest current challenges

Satellite image of an intense storm over Europe on 10 July 2019. Image: EUMETSAT
Satellite image of an intense storm over Europe on 10 July 2019. Image: EUMETSAT

The upcoming deployment of two next-generation meteorological satellite systems will bring weather forecasting accuracy and climate monitoring into a new era, the head of Europe's meteorological satellite agency asserted this week.

EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier said the organisation's two next-generation meteorological satellite systems, Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) and EUMETSAT Polar System - Second Generation (EPS-SG), will help forecasters and climate scientists meet some of their biggest current challenges.

Representatives from the meteorological and hydrological services in EUMETSAT's 30 Member States and northern Africa are meeting at the organisation's Darmstadt headquarters this week to discuss preparations for the use of data from the new satellite systems.

The first of the MTG and EPS-SG satellites are scheduled for launch in late 2021 and late 2022 respectively.

"These are the most complex and innovative meteorological satellite systems ever built," Ratier said. "Having these two systems coming on stream together is a rare, challenging, and exciting time for EUMETSAT.

"Representatives from national meteorological and hydrological services around Europe and beyond are preparing now for this new era. These satellite systems will enable the NMHS to bring more benefits to citizens in their countries, helping to save lives, property and industries and bringing about a positive economic impact."

"One of the main challenges facing meteorologists is the rapid detection and forecasting of severe weather events, so that timely warnings can be given to citizenry, civil authorities and first responders," Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) Director of Forecasting Hans-Joachim Koppert said.

"MTG data will be provided to meteorological services such as the DWD faster and in higher resolution than is currently possible, to give just one example of how the next generation systems will help us meet this challenge."

Met Office Head of Satellite Data Products and Systems Dr Simon Keogh said the MTG mission had massive potential to improve weather and climate services.

"We intend to leverage MTG data to enhance our forecasting capability and to extend into the future our ability to monitor changes to our environment," Keogh said.

Natasa Strelec Mahovi from the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ) said new and next-generation instruments on the EPS-SG satellites will be the main source of data for complex computer modelling of the weather for forecasts from 12 hours to 10 days in advance.

"Our experts are eager to work with the new and higher-quality data and to explore the new possibilities from assimilating the data from the new and next-generation instruments on EPS-SG," Mahovi said.

Both systems will make significant contributions to monitoring climate change, adding to existing knowledge gained from EUMETSAT's more than 40 years' of satellite observations and creating new series of climate data records.

When fully deployed, the MTG spacecraft constellation will consist of three satellites - two imagers and one sounder - in a geostationary orbit 36,000km above Earth.

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