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Interview with Prof Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General

Source:China Meteorological News Press02-07-2021

With the launch of FY-3E meteorological satellite, we have had an interview with Prof Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Prof Petteri Taalas

The interview is as follows.

The WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) Vision 2040 details the future observing system responding to the needs of Earth system modelling. The Vision 2040 also describes the required space-based component where the primary observational capabilities comes from geostationary and polar meteorological satellites. The backbone polar system consists of observations from three orbital planes, covering early morning, mid-morning and afternoon. The Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) contributes to the Vision 2040 through their committed baseline. Today the mid-morning satellites are provided by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the afternoon observations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The early-morning orbit is currently only occupied by some old legacy satellites.

The launch of the CMA FY-3E satellite will therefore fill a critical gap in the space-based observing system identified also by CGMS. The polar orbiting satellite data a key for medium-range global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) and the impact assessments by leading NWP Centers, like the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, have unequivocally demonstrated the importance of the early morning data. Furthermore, the early-morning orbit data will ensure good temporal and spatial coverage important also for other applications, like rainfall monitoring.

The FY-3E instrument suite is a state-of-the-art complement to the global observing system including in addition to imagery and atmospheric sounding capabilities also scatterometry for the observation of sea surface roughness, critical for deriving wind information over the oceans. Finally, it should be noted that FY-3E also has a comprehensive suite of instruments monitoring the space environment, important for the emerging space weather services.

Now, with the advent of FY-3E, CMA will become the third pillar in the global meteorological polar orbiting constellation. This demonstrates a strong commitment from CMA towards the WIGOS Vision 2040, the CGMS baseline and the global community at large. I am looking forward to seeing the data from this new satellite and a continued commitment from CMA for the long-term for the provision of follow-on missions for this orbit.

Reporter: Liu Shuqiao

Editor: Zhang Yong