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Spectacular Earth Images Unveiled by New Weather Satellite


First image of Earth’s full disk from Meteosat Third Generation Imager. The first image from Meteosat Third Generation – Imager 1 (MTG-I1) reveals a level of detail about weather over Europe and Africa not previously possible from 36,000km above Earth. High-resolution images provided by the onboard instruments give weather forecasters more information about the clouds that obscure most of Europe and are visible in equatorial Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. Sand and sediment can also be seen in the waters off Italy, as can dust or smog carried in from southern Asia. This degree of detail is not possible with instruments on second-generation Meteosat satellites. The image was taken at 11:50 UTC on March 18, 2023 by Combined Elastic Imaging on MTG-I1. Credit: EUMETSAT/ESA

Europe’s newest weather satellite, the Meteosat Third Generation Imager, has provided its first view of Earth – revealing conditions in Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean in fantastic detail.

Meteosat Third Generation Imager-1 (MTG-I1) was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on December 13, 2022, the first of a new generation of satellites set to revolutionize weather forecasting in Europe. ESA and Eumetsat are proud to jointly release the new Next Generation Image.

The image, captured by the flexible satellite imager merger on March 18, 2023, shows much of northern and western Europe and Scandinavia covered in clouds, with relatively clear skies over Italy and the western Balkans.

ESA Earth Observation Programs Director Simonetta Chelly said, “This image is a great example of what European cooperation in space can achieve. The level of detail the MTG-I1 image reveals, which could not be achieved in Europe and Africa from geostationary orbit until now.” , will give us a greater understanding of our planet and the weather systems that make it up.

“This picture represents not only what can be achieved through European expertise but our determination to ensure that communities in Europe and beyond feel the benefits of the new technology.”

Instruments aboard the third-generation Meteosat meteorological satellites produce images at a much higher resolution, and at a much more repeatable rate, than those on the second-generation Meteosat satellites.

Details such as swirling clouds over the Canary Islands, snow cover over the Alps, and sediments in the waters along Italy’s coastline are visible in the image. These details are not clearly visible, or not visible at all, in images from instruments on current second-generation spacecraft.

Credit: European Space Agency

The new image also reveals a greater level of detail about cloud structures at high latitudes. This will enable weather forecasters to more accurately monitor the development of rapidly evolving severe weather in that region.

Phil Evans, Managing Director, Eumetsat added, “This impressive image gives us great confidence in our prediction that the MTG system will usher in a new era in forecasting severe weather events.

“It may seem strange to be so excited about a cloudy day across much of Europe. But the visual level of detail of the clouds in this image is extremely important to weather forecasters. This extra detail from the high-resolution images, combined with the fact that the images will be produced so frequently, means that forecasters They will be able to detect and predict severe weather events more accurately and quickly.”

“The high-resolution, repeatable cycle of the embedded flexible imager will greatly assist the WMO community in improving severe weather forecasts, long-term climate monitoring, marine applications, and agrometeorology, and will make an important contribution to early planning,” added Natalia Donohue, Division Chief. Space Systems and Uses of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Warnings for All initiative, particularly on the African continent.

The MTG-I1 is currently undergoing a 12-month commissioning phase, during which its instrumentation, integrated flexible imager and Lightning Imager is commissioned, and the data it produces is calibrated. The data from the satellite will then be released to meteorological services in Europe and beyond at the end of 2023, for operational use in weather forecasts.

The ground-segment infrastructure required for image processing was used routinely to produce this first image, as a preview of things to come this year. Full Earth disk images will be produced every 10 minutes when the system is operating at full capacity.

The MTG satellites were built by a large consortium of European industries, led by Thales Alenia Space in collaboration with OHB. The innovative Lightning Imager has been developed by Leonardo in Italy, while Telespazio provides Eumetsat launch and in-orbit services.

A new weather satellite reveals stunning images of Earth

To meet the mission’s more than 20-year operational life, the complete third-generation Meteosat system consists of six satellites: four imaging satellites (MTG-I) and two sounding satellites (MTG-S). When fully deployed, the system will include two MTG-I satellites working in tandem – one scanning Europe and Africa every 10 minutes and one for Europe only but every 2.5 minutes – and one MTG-S satellite to provide fast local coverage over select parts of the Earth. The image shows the three satellites with two MTG-I satellites (foreground and left) and one MTG-S satellite (right). MTG’s innovative toolkit coupled with increased accuracy and sensitivity is set to take weather forecasting to the next level, particularly in the challenging task of early detection and forecasting of rapidly evolving and dangerous weather events such as severe thunderstorms. The MTG-I satellites carry a combined elastic imager and a lightning imager. The MTG-S satellite carries an infrared probe and the Copernicus Sentinel-4 instrument. MTG is a collaboration between ESA and Eumetsat. The European Space Agency is responsible for defining and implementing MTG satellites and procuring redundant hardware, while Eumetsat is responsible for operating the spacecraft throughout its life. The MTG satellites will replace the current Meteosat second generation operating system. Credit: ESA/Mlabspace, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

A new era of satellite meteorology

MTG-I1 is the first of six satellites that make up the complete MTG system, which will provide critical data for the short-term and early detection of potential extreme weather events over the next 20 years. The mission, if fully operational, will consist of two MTG-I satellites and one MTG Sounding satellite (MTG-S) operating in tandem.

The MTG-S sounding satellite — a first for Meteosat — will carry an infrared probe and a UV-visible and near-infrared spectrometer. By observing atmospheric instability in three dimensions throughout the clouds, the probe will provide a major step forward for early warnings of severe thunderstorms and is expected to provide unique information from geostationary orbit about ozone, carbon monoxide, and volcanic ash composition within the atmosphere.

The revolutionary infrared sounding instrument is currently in the process of characterizing its final performance before delivery to Bremen, Germany, for the MTG-S satellite integration. The satellite is expected to be completed by mid-2024, with a targeted launch before the end of the year.

Paul Blyth, Meteosat Program Manager at the European Space Agency, commented: “After the launch of the MTG-I1 satellite, the momentum in the MTG program is relentless. On the one hand, we are supporting operations and data analysis for the first satellite in orbit, while on the other We go above and beyond to ensure the availability and performance of the all-new MTG Sounding satellite.

“The preliminary results from the MTG-I1 greatly motivate those who have worked on the program and create significant impetus to complete the full MTG suite by 2026.”

Provided by the European Space Agency

the quote: New Weather Satellite Reveals Stunning Images of Earth (2023, May 4) Retrieved May 4, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-weather-satellite-reveals-spectacular-images.html

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