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Fengyun Meteorological Satellite Program to mark its 50th anniversary, an interview with Prof. Xu Jianmin

Source:China Meteorological News Press24-09-2020

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of China’s Fengyun meteorological satellite program. Over the past decades, 17 Fengyun meteorological satellites have been launched, among which 7 are in-orbit now. On the occasion of commemorating the 50th anniversary of Fengyun meteorological satellite program, the reporter of China Meteorological News Press have an interview with Prof. Xu Jianmin, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the former Director-General of National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC).


Prof. Xu Jianmin 

Through 50 years’ efforts, China Meteorolgical Administration (CMA) has established a large meteorological satellite ground application system with advanced technology and the state-of-the-art functions in China, ranking among a few countries both operating polar-orbiting and geostationary meteorological satellites in the world.

At present, Fengyun-3 polar-orbiting meteorological satellites have realized the morning and afternoon networking observation, obtaining global observation data four times a day. Fengyun-2 and Fengyun-4 geostationary meteorological satellites are positioned over the Equator and can carry out continuous minute-scale high frequency observation of the fixed area covering one third of the Earth. 


Layout of Fengyun meteorological satellites in 2020 

The system has realized the stable and reliable operation, with the operational success rate maintaining over 99% for a long term, said Prof. Xu Jianmin. Fengyun satellite data has become one of the major assimilation data of the numerical weather prediction (NWP) independently developed by CMA. There are also together 2600 domestic users in terms of fields like ocean, agriculture, and ecological environment. The input and output ratio of developing the program has surpassed 1:40 according to assessments. 

The first color composite image of Fengyun-1A meteoorological satellite

At present, Fengyun-3 polar-orbiting satellite observing data has been used in most of the global Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. Fengyun satellites have made a positive contribution to improving the accuracy of global weather forecasting in these services.

Fengyun meteorological satellite system become one of the major components in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s Space-based Observing System as well as the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters. 

Prof. Xu Jianmin is proud of the role of Fengyun satellites in global earth observation and sustainable development. He remarked that currently, CMA is providing over 100 satellite products to more than 100 countries or territories through CMACast, direct broadcast receiving systems and the Internet. In 2019, the satellite data sharing services volume added up to 5.4 PB. CMA also provides intensive observation service as requested by launching Emergency Support Mechanism of FengYun Satellites. With consistent efforts on the programme, Fengyun meteorological satellites have made significant contributions to the international disaster prevention and mitigation, climate monitoring and protection of life and well-being of the people.

Monitoring image of typhoon Lekima and Krosa captured by Fengyun-4A in 2019 

Right now, 25 neighboring countries and territories, like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Pakistan, and others have set up CMACast data reception stations, obtained Fengyun meteorological cloud images and products data. Those data have played their role in monitoring, tracking, and early warning of severe weather like typhoon, rainstorm, and sand and dust storm.

As for the future development of Fengyun meteorological satellite program, Prof. Xu Jianmin anticipated that Fengyun satellites can further contribute to global disaster preparedness and sustainable development. With the development of Fengyun satellites and its international application, they will further give play to their capacities to boost global monitoring, global forecasting, and global services.

Prof. Xu Jianmin has made tremendous endeavors in the development of Fengyun meteorological satellite program. In the early stage, he was responsible for the ground segment construction and operation. He designed the general architecture of the Fengyun meteorological satellite ground system, solved the key problems in satellite navigation, and developed the core technology for satellite-related products.

Prof. XU Jianmin has been actively involved in international activities related to meteorological satellites. He was a member of WMO Expert Team on Satellite Systems (ET-SAT) and drafted two technical documents for ET-SAT (SAT-13 and SAT-14). He was also an active contributor to the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) and International Wind Working Group.

Reporter: Liu Shuqiao

Editor: Zhang Yong