Europe To Tackle Extreme Weather And Climate Change With Next Generation Satellites

Europe To Tackle Extreme Weather And Climate Change With Next Generation Satellites
Science Europe To Tackle Extreme Weather And Climate Change With Next Generation Satellites Bruce Dorminey Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I cover aerospace, astronomy and host The Cosmic Controversy Podcast. Following New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories.
Got it! Sep 10, 2022, 04:58pm EDT | New! Click on the conversation bubble to join the conversation Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin To meet more than the 20-year operational life of the mission, the full Meteosat Third Generation . . .
[+] system comprises six satellites: four Imaging (MTG-I) satellites and two Sounding (MTG-S) satellites. This image features one MTG-I satellite (in the foreground) and one MTG-S satellite. When fully deployed, the system will include two MTG-I satellites operating in tandem – one scanning Europe and Africa every 10 minutes and the other only Europe but every 2.
5 minutes – and one MTG-S satellite to provide local-area coverage over selected parts of Earth, with a repeat cycle of typically five minutes. ESA/Mlabspace, CC BY-SA 3. 0 IGO On a scorcher of an afternoon this past week, Europe’s long-awaited METEOSAT Third Generation Imager-1 (MTG-I1) satellite sat in a Thales Alenia Space clean room swarming with journalists only too eager to see the massive spacecraft up close.
The scene was strangely reminiscent of the media throngs that attend France’s Cannes Film Festival which takes place only a few miles from here. Even though work on the spacecraft is largely finished, at least half a dozen workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the satellite which will unusually have to be sent to its French Guiana launch site by ship, where it is scheduled for launch by Arianespace in late November. Due to the war in Ukraine, the Russian-built Antonov cargo aircraft that would normally ferry such a large payload to the South American launch site are no longer available.
Yet it once on orbit, from its geostationary vantage point some 36,000 km above Earth, it will scan the full Earth disk in order to monitor and forecast the weather. In the process, it will image our planet in 16 wavelength bands ranging from the ultraviolet to the long-wave infrared. Onboard imagers will give us data every two and a half minutes over the European region and every ten minutes over the African region, Simonetta Cheli, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Director of Earth Observation Programs, told me.
It can zoom in to deliver images of selected regions which is key for issuing timely warnings and relevant for air traffic safety, ESA notes. Part of a next generation of six new satellites to be launched over the next few years, the full MTG system will last more than 20 years. But the massive size of the system’s first component —- the MTG-I1 satellite which weighs nearly 4 tons when fully fueled for launch —- is comparable to a large Ford-250 pickup truck.
And one truly only appreciates its size from ground level inside the clean room. MORE FOR YOU New Research Finds A Connection Between Domestic Violence And These Two Personality Disorders This Scientist Helps Andean Forests And Ecuador’s Women In STEM Exceptional Fossil Preservation Suggests That Discovering Dinosaur DNA May Not Be Impossible The Thales Alenia Space clean room, currently home to the MTG-I1 satellite. The author is the .
. . [+] fellow in the center of the photo amazed at the size of the satellite.
Thales Alenia Space France The satellite will be able to scan inside cumulus clouds and determine their composition and direction, which can then be combined with wind direction in an integrated way, says Cheli. That’s important because you want to use all this information in a combined way an integrated way to have better weather prediction, anticipated weather prediction, and nowcasting, she says. Nowcasting is near real time, better and faster weather prediction, says Cheli.
And this is essential for daily forecasting about the extreme weather events that can impact everybody, she says. And if at an outdoor wedding in Normandy, how much time would ‘nowcasting’ buy the bride in order to move the ceremony inside? You will gain 10 to 15 minutes, Hervé Roquet, Head of Research and Development at Météo-France, told me. That may be enough to move a crowd of the guests inside to avoid a more extreme event, such as a big convective system, he says.
And could local high humidity on the French Riviera this summer be due to climate change? Roquet says yes. Once the temperature is higher, the atmosphere can contain more moisture, so moisture and temperature directly related, says Roquet. Higher temperatures add the opportunity for higher humidity, he says.
How will this satellite help with climate change issues? It will provide observations to check that our climate predictions are happening, says Roquet. Up to now, the climate predictions were only predictions which cannot be verified, he says. With this new satellite, we will have more confidence in our predictions, Roquet notes.
The satellite will also give weather forecasters data that can help mitigate air traffic disturbances from volcanic eruptions, such as from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. The satellite will have the ability to pick up aerosols and particulates in its data, Paul Blythe, ESA’s MTG Program Manager, told me. If we had had it during the 2010 eruption, there wouldn't have been global blanket bans on air travel, he says.
“We will be able to tell where the danger areas are,” said Blythe. “That's the areas the aircraft have to avoid. ” The satellite will also provide pilots making treks across the North Atlantic with better routing.
Once en route, Roguet says that within a matter of minutes pilots can receive real time SIGMET messages on newly detected lightning cells. This will be enabled by a new Lightning Imager on the spacecraft that will continuously monitor more than 80 percent of Earth’s disk for relatively weak lightning events that are detectable even in full sunlight. Four optical detector arrays with a sampling rate of 1 millisecond will be able to detect ‘blink of the eye’ lightning signals that last as little as 6 milliseconds.
This next generation of satellites should also provide meteorologists with data for more accurate forecasts. This, in turn, will help European leaders make better decisions about energy usage throughout the year. And after decades of Earth observations, one might wonder if what we’ve learned about our own planet might help us make better observations of other planets in our own solar system.
Or if observations of Venus and Mars, for example, might give us new insight about climate here on Earth. There is a synergy in terms of industrial activities and technology development between science missions and Earth observation missions, says Cheli. As Cristian Bank, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites’ (EUMETSAT) Director of Program Preparation & Development, told me the connection is through the chemical and physical models used to understand weather phenomenon.
That’s because the underlying physics and chemistry is the same, he says. “The better, we understand our own atmosphere and the chemical and physical interaction between the constituents, the better we understand atmospheres of other planets,” said Bank. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn .
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