New Delhi: Europe’s meteorological satellite agency, EUMETSAT, and the European Space Agency on Thursday released the first image which revealed high level detail about the weather patterns over Europe and Africa.
The image was captured by the new generation of European weather satellites, Meteosat Third Generation – Imager 1 (MTG-I1) 36,000km above the Earth on 18 March 2023. MTG-I1 was launched on 13 December 2022.
The image, captured shows much of Northern and Western Europe and Scandinavia cloaked in clouds, with relatively clear skies over Italy and the Western Balkans.
“Crucially for Nordic countries, the image reveals a greater level of detail of cloud structures at high latitudes. This will enable weather forecasters to more accurately monitor the evolution of rapidly developing severe weather in that region” the agency said in a statement.
“This remarkable image gives us great confidence in our expectation that the MTG system will herald a new era in the forecasting of severe weather events,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said.
“It might sound odd to be so excited about a cloudy day in most of Europe. But the level of detail seen for the clouds in this image is extraordinarily important to weather forecasters” he added.
Director of Earth Observation at the European Space Agency (ESA), Simonetta Cheli, said seeing MTG-I1’s first image was a moment of great pride for the organisation and all those who have contributed to the Meteosat Third Generation programme.
“This image is a great example of what European cooperation in space can achieve,” Cheli said.
“This image represents not just what can be achieved through European expertise but our determination to ensure the benefits of new technology are felt by communities in Europe and beyond.”
The instruments on the third generation of Meteosat meteorological satellites produce imagery of much higher resolution more frequently than is possible from those on the second-generation spacecraft.
Thales Alenia Space, MTG prime contractor, built the imaging instrument, the Flexible Combined Imager, and integrated the MTG-I1 satellite.
The satellite is currently undergoing a 12-month commissioning phase, in which its instruments are switched on and the data they produce are calibrated.
The data from MTG-I1 will be disseminated to meteorological services in Europe and beyond at the end of 2023, for operational use in weather forecasts.