EUMETSAT has for the first time combined preliminary data captured by the two main instruments on board its MTG-I1 satellite, the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Lightning Imager (LI), to highlight their synergies.
“These animations demonstrate how the combination of the two instruments will revolutionize nowcasting and the monitoring of severe thunderstorms,” said Phil Evans, director-general, EUMETSAT. “I am extremely impressed and am looking forward to the innovative applications that will stem from these data after they become operational.”
The high-resolution visible and infrared channels of the FCI allow the precise observation and characterization of clouds and thunderstorms during the day and night, while the LI instrument detects lightning activity as an indicator of strong atmospheric turbulence and convection.
When fully operational, MTG-I1 will empower meteorologists and scientists to monitor extreme weather events with unprecedented accuracy. The new and more precise data will also enable numerical weather prediction models to be even more accurate, thus increasing the reliability of early warnings for extreme weather events and their ability to protect lives and property.
Håkan Wirtén, director general, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), said, “The European cooperation on satellite data is crucial for the SMHI and we look forward to following the operationalization of the MTG-I1. A forecaster always relies deeply on information from weather observations, especially in situations with rapidly evolving and extreme weather events. The information has to be accurate and with high resolution to capture local phenomena, something the MTG-I1 will be able to provide.”
Storm Hans recently swept through Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway, causing extreme rainfall, deadly landslides, extensive flooding, and generally putting the lives and livelihoods of entire regions at risk.
The MTG-I1 animation with storm Hans shows how hot and moist air from southern Europe hit the cooler air in Scandinavia, resulting in massive thunderstorms. As the flow of energy and humidity continued, the storm lasted several days with heavy rains and strong winds.
Launched on December 13, 2022, MTG-I1 is operated by EUMETSAT from its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. The satellite was procured by the European Space Agency (ESA), fulfilling the requirements established by EUMETSAT in consultation with the meteorological services in its member states. Thales Alenia Space (France), MTG prime contractor, built the imaging instrument, the Flexible Combined Imager, and integrated it onto the MTG-I1 satellite, for which OHB (Germany) supplied the platform. The Lightning Imager was developed by Leonardo (Italy).