An Ariane rocket will launch the Meteosat-12 weather satellite into orbit to monitor Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
It may be the most important European space trip of the year since it replaces equipment that is more than 20 years old.
“Take a look at the storm from last year that killed over 200 people and affected Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. These incidents are terrible, “Phil Evans, the director general of Eumetsat, the intergovernmental organization that oversees Europe’s meteorological satellites, was quoted by the BBC.
More accurate, frequent, and pertinent observations from space are essential to provide better predictions and alerts that help us diminish and minimize the consequences of these extreme weather events.
Since 1977, Europe has had a meteorological spacecraft of its circling far above the planet. On Tuesday, the series’ third imager will be set up.
Every ten minutes, Meteosat-12 will provide a full picture of the weather below it. It will be able to observe atmospheric occurrences at a wider range of light wavelengths and sizes as tiny as 500 meters across. As a result, national forecasting organizations will obtain much more data.
One of the most significant developments is a camera that can recognize lightning. The agencies believe that this will enhance what they refer to as “nowcasting”—the ability to watch for and warn of approaching hazardous occurrences. This is true because hail, heavy rain, and high winds all serve as tracers for lightning.
Although 90% of lightning strikes are air-to-air or intra-cloud, it has long been feasible to track lightning using its radio frequency emissions.
According to Simon Keogh from the UK Met Office, the new Meteosat instrument “is expected to be a game-changer.”
He continued: “We will be able to control entire lightning far more skillfully. We need to be mindful of these factors when anticipating, for example, helicopter activities in the North Sea. If hazardous commodities, such as people, are being unloaded from airplanes, we also need to be aware of any lightning risks.”
The new generation technology will ultimately allow three spacecraft to function together.
In 2026, a second image will be introduced to take pictures more quickly. Before that, in 2024, a “sounding” spacecraft will be sent to gather information on the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere as it descends.
Europe will have coverage long into the 2040s thanks to the replacements that have already been ordered for the first operational trio of satellites.
The research and development cost £1.2 billion, which came from the member countries of the European Space Agency (ESA). Eumetsat states are responsible for paying the continuing costs, which are anticipated to reach £2.5 billion.
Meteosat-12 is scheduled to launch at 17:30 local time from the European spaceport in French Guiana atop an Ariane rocket (20:30 GMT).