MTG-I1 Satellite Marks New Era of Weather Forecasting

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The Meteosat Third Generation-Imager 1 (MTG-I1) is scheduled for launch today, 13th December 2022 at 21:30 CET, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The European Space Agency has confirmed that the Ariane 5 rocket carrying the satellite is “poised patiently on the launch pad while final checks are being carried out”.

“The Meteosat Third Generation satellite system is set to revolutionise weather forecasting in Europe and enable more precise monitoring of our changing atmosphere, land, and oceans”, said Europe’s Meteorological Satellite Agency (EUMETSAT).

ESA Ariane 5 Rocket
ESA Ariane 5 Rocket – Photo: ESA/CNES/Arianespace

MTG will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 36,000km, keeping a constant view over Europe and Africa. For comparison, the International Space Station orbits at an altitude of about 400km.

“The MTG constellation consists of three satellites: two imaging satellites (MTG-I), and one sounding satellite (MTG-S) as the first operational sounding satellite in a geostationary orbit”.

As one of the most complex and innovative meteorological geostationary satellite systems ever built, the two MGT-I satellites will deliver more frequent data by operating in tandem. With one scanning Europe and Africa every 10 minutes (versus 15 minutes currently), and the other providing rapid scanning service (RSS), scanning Europe every 2.5 minutes. This will make weather forecasts even more reliable as high-resolution imagery becomes available more quickly.

Offering 20 years of operational services, this new generation of satellites will have a wide range of uses, helping to protect lives, property, and infrastructure, as well as bringing economic benefits to Europe and Africa. MTG is also the first geostationary weather satellite with the capability to detect lightning data across a broad area over Europe, Africa, and the surrounding waters.

The hyperspectral Infrared Sounder (IRS), Lightning Imager (LI), and Ultraviolet-Visible Near-Infrared (UVN) Spectrometer are world firsts in this orbit.

“The observations that we’ll receive from these satellites will be critical for many applications, including accurate forecasts of severe weather”, said Dr. Tony McNally, Head of Earth System Assimilation at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

McNally is eagerly anticipating the data that will come from a brand-new instrument to the Meteosat series of satellites, the Lightning Imager.

“The four cameras on board will collect continuous, near-real-time data about intracloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground lightning flashes. This information can be used to identify highly unstable and dynamic regions of the atmosphere – again critical for accurate weather forecasts.”

“Meteosat satellites have been the main source of meteorological data for Europe and Africa since 1977”, says EUMETSAT. If successful, the data from these satellites is one of ESA and EUMETSAT’s key contributions to the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Observing System.

Today’s launch marks an exciting new era for meteorology. We can’t wait to see the real-life benefits this innovative satellite brings.