20 October 2006
revolutionary weather and climate satellite MetOp was launched
from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Thursday night and is the first ever
European meteorological polar-orbiting satellite.
After a series of stringent equipment checks over the coming
weeks, operational data will begin to flow into EUMETSAT's headquarters
in Darmstadt before being sent to weather services across Europe,
including the Met Office here in the UK.
New on-board technology will enable us over time to improve both
our weather forecasts and our monitoring of climate change, with
more accurate readings of winds, temperature and humidity, and
our monitoring of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.
The MetOp satellite launch was also a landmark occasion for space
relations between Europe and the United States. This international
partnership between EUMETSAT and NOAA will sustain continuity
for polar-orbiting satellite imagery.
Dick Francis of the Met Office satellite team said; "this
is easily the most significant satellite launch in my 25 years
of working in the science. The advances this launch will bring
to monitoring weather and climate will be enormous."
Space Agency MetOp web site
National Space Centre
- EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organisation that provides
satellite data services to the Met Office and other European
Met Offices and is a partner in a number of global climate monitoring
and other initiatives.
- EUMETSAT is funded by the national meteorological services
of Europe with the UK being the second largest contributor.
- The United States has delivered meteorological data from polar
orbit, free of charge, to users worldwide for almost 40 years.
MetOp represents Europe's contribution to a new co-operative
venture which will secure this weather data service for the
decades to come.
- Polar-orbiting weather satellites are complementary to those
in geostationary orbit. They orbit at a lower altitude
typically 800 km compared with 35, 000 km for a geostationary
satellite and can, therefore, observe the Earth in closer
- The UKs contribution to the development of MetOp was
funded principally by DTI and MOD. The Met Office is responsible
for UK involvement in the EUMETSAT component, which includes
the build of the remaining two satellites in the series, ground
segment facilities and operations. UK civil space activities
are co-ordinated by British National Space Centre (BNSC).
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