The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) has inaugurated a new satellite ground station in Valais, Switzerland.
The organization plans to launch the first of its new Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) weather satellites in late 2022, providing new opportunities for the development of meteorological and climatological data and products.
According to EUMETSAT, future satellite data will make it possible to monitor thunderstorm activity in a matter of seconds, optimize the potential of using solar energy and review the quality of numerical weather prediction models, among other benefits.
With the latest generation of satellites, EUMETSAT estimates that the volume of available data will be more than 10 times today’s levels. Following the launch of the first satellite, the Valais station with its three 6.5m antennas will receive huge volumes of meteorological data every minute, which it will forward to EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany.
Commenting on the launch of the new ground station, Marco Gaia, head of the MeteoSwiss Regional Centre South, said, “We are looking forward to receiving more frequent satellite data from MTG that will allow us to gain critical minutes when forecasting thunderstorms, which can save lives, particularly when the thunderstorms are severe.
“The lightning imager, an instrument that hasn’t been flown yet on any of the previous Meteosat satellites, will enable forecasters to monitor the atmosphere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This is critical information for pilots flying to the USA and important for Switzerland because the weather here is very much influenced by the atmospheric conditions over the Atlantic.”