About 150 meteorologists and scientists from 54 African nations are gathering in Tanzania to prepare for the exploitation of data from Europe’s next-generation satellite systems, to ensure their communities get maximum benefit from these new capabilities.
EUMETSAT, the European meteorological satellite agency, will launch the first satellite in its Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) system later this year. MTG satellites fly in a geostationary orbit with a constant view of Europe and Africa.
“EUMETSAT’s Meteosat satellites are the only Earth observation satellites that have a constant view of Africa, 24/7,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said.
“MTG will provide higher resolution images of Africa than is possible now and more frequently, that is, every 10 minutes. Because EUMETSAT makes this data available to Africa, this means an unprecedented amount of more precise information will become available to help save lives, infrastructure and economies on the continent and support sustainable agriculture.
“MTG will improve predictions of fast developing, severe weather events, such as convective storms. It will empower African national meteorological services to provide more precise, faster warnings and predictions of severe weather events to their populations, first responders and civil authorities.
“Severe weather events are becoming more frequent in our changing climate, so the importance of this system for Africa cannot be overstated.”
Evans said the wide range of applications possible with data from the new and improved instruments on the MTG satellites would benefit communities in Africa, for example, vegetation, precipitation and climate products could support the agricultural sector and improve food security.
This week’s conference will deal with the transition from use of Meteosat Second Generation data to the use of the vastly increased amount of higher resolution data available from MTG. Discussions will cover capacity building through training and to improve services, support for research and development, more bandwidth for data access and support for the establishment of an African meteorological satellite application facility.
The conference follows high-level meetings with policy makers from partner organisations including the African Union Commission, the European Commission, the World Meteorological Organization and EUMETSAT.
“EUMETSAT has worked with partners in Africa for more than 20 years and is committed to supporting African weather and climate services to obtain the maximum benefit from our meteorological satellites,” Evans said.
“Our next-generation satellites systems herald a new era for satellite meteorology not just in Europe, but also in Africa.”