a hundred times more data for real-time forecasts with Meteosat’s third-generation satellites

The European satellites MTG-I and MTG-S will make it possible to generate weather forecasts in near real time and to facilitate the work of other users, such as fire brigades. First launch in late 2022 from Kourou.

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Météo France will have data from a new generation of satellites available for its forecasts in the coming months. This third generation, which will replace the two devices currently deployed in space, is currently under construction in France. In a building belonging to the Thales Alenia Space Group in Cannes, the first of these new satellites, called MTG (for Meteosat third generation) will be terminated.

On board this large four-ton cube, equipped with solar panels for power supply, improved gauges, including a new one. “A new instrument called the Lightning Imager was mounted, explains Pierre Armand, director of this program at Thales Alenia Space. He is there to spot lightning bolts between the clouds and those that are about to hit the ground. This has two objectives: to improve our knowledge of how lightning occurs and to improve public alerting.

In total, this new generation will have six satellites: four of the type currently being finalized (MTG-I) for imaging and two others, called Sounders (MTG-S), equipped with completely new instruments that will allow repeated to get other information. especially the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

All of this is said to provide a hundred times more data than current satellites. With the first generation of Meteosat satellites, the images were updated every 30 minutes. This delay has been reduced to 15 minutes with the second generation Constellation and will drop to just 10 minutes with MTG. Which improves the weather maps created daily by forecasters, but also makes the work of other users such as firefighters easier.

“The fact that we have more accurate images will allow us to have wildfire surveillance products that says Sylvain Le Moal, one of the managers at the Meteo France Space Weather Center (CMS) in Lannion, Brittany. This will allow us to follow much more precisely the movement of both the flocks and the smoke, as well as measure the temperature of these fires and therefore know the places where they are most active. In the autumn, the first satellite will leave Cannes for Kourou, where it will board an Ariane 5 rocket, with the first launch scheduled for the end of the year.

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