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FengYun satellite facilitates space weather observation

Source:China Meteorological News Press17-03-2020

China shares data from its geostationary and polar-orbiting meteorological satellites including FY-4A and provides meteorological satellite services worldwide. Furthermore, the data and products of China’s global carbon dioxide monitoring satellite, a research and experimental satellite (TanSat) are free and available to users across the globe.

In 2016, second-generation meteorological satellite, FY-4A satellite was launched, which has provided a new stage for space weather prediction. FY-4A is the first quantitative remote sensing satellite of a three-axis stabilization structure on geostationary orbit for China. Four new instruments are onboard with the latest independently developed weather satellite, namely, Advanced Geosynchronous Radiation Imager (AGRI), Geosynchronous Interferometric Infrared Sounder (GIIRS), Lightning Mapping Imager (LMI) and Space Environment Package (SEP). For the first time in the world, FY-4A is carrying out a hyper-spectral vertical atmospheric sounding payload, which can conduct a high-precision observation of atmosphere over China and neighboring regions. The observation system is a thousand times more capable than the current system, thus significantly enhancing weather warning and forecasting capabilities.


Fig.1 FY-3D Flood Monitoring Image

(8 Jan. 2020 9:45 UTC)


Fig.2 FY-3D Flood Monitoring Image

(16 Jan. 2020 08:55 UTC)

FY-4A has space weather effect probing instrument onboard, which is dedicated to monitoring different parts of satellites in terms of electrification. Actually, electrification phenomena are impactful in space. They will exert effects on the functions of satellites. With these instruments onboard, voltage change can be monitored on a sustained basis, informing operators to handle cases in a timely manner. Despite all these, space weather prediction of the operational environment of FY-4A is necessary as well.

On June 27, 2017, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) released opinions on building an integrated application system of satellite remote sensing (hereinafter referred to as Opinions). According to the Opinions, meteorological departments will establish a satellite remote sensing application system with reasonable layout and high efficiency by 2020. Currently, FengYun satellites have been woven into an observation network and different satellites can back up each other in data collection and storage.


FY-3D satellite monitoring image for fires of New South Wales, Australia on Dec.19,2019 


FY-3D satellite monitoring image for fires of Australia on Dec.23,2019 

FY-3D satellite launched in 2017 had brand-new Ionospheric Photometer (IPM) and Wide Angle Aurora Imager (WAI) onboard, which could conduct monitoring of ionosphere airglows and aurora activities. Ionosphere is a region in earth’s atmosphere which is partially ionized. Ionosphere weather can affect operation and functions of wireless electric systems like telecommunication, navigation, and positioning, and result in issues like telecommunication disruption, signal flickering, delay or declining positioning accuracy. Aurora activity is the most important and visible space weather phenomenon in polar regions. Information like the location, form, and luminance of aurora appearance can manifest geomagnetic activity state. FY-3D conducts monitoring and warning of ionosphere and aurora activity and can therefore provide data support for aviation, telecommunication, and other technical systems services.

In June 2018, the FY-2H satellite was launched. It has been repositioned westward to 79 °E to extend the coverage to the Indian Ocean, South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and most African countries. This serves as a template for the ASEAN countries, and can provide customized and highly frequent area-specific observations.

In 2018, Emergency Support Mechanism of FengYun Satellite (FYESM) was released. It provides a highly frequent observation of an affected area at a 5 to 6 minutes interval upon request. As requested by a Member, CMA enables FY meteorological satellites on watch to generate images and quantitative products and provides them to the requesting country through means like CMACast, Internet and direct satellite broadcasting.


Tropical cyclone Kenneth seen by the color composite image of the polar-orbiting meteorological satellite FY-3D at 11:00 UTC on 25 April,2019


Tropical cyclone Kenneth seen by the enhanced infrared image of meteorological satellite FY-2H at 12:00 UTC on 25.2019

According to the statistics, since September 2016, the FY Satellite Data Centre has registered additional 20 users from ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. 13 kinds of products have been subscribed including cloud, precipitation and dust, to underpin good delivery of meteorological services.

CMA continues to facilitate the support of international users by CMACast, a system that China has installed in 19 developing countries including those along the “Belt and Road”. In addition, the Meteorological Information Comprehensive Analysis and Processing System (MICAPS) has been deployed in more than 20 countries and regions in Asia. These advanced systems and facilities enable better reception of global meteorological data and products, the preparation of weather forecasts and the application of meteorological satellite data by countries along the “Belt and Road”. Each year, expert teams from CMA will head for some Southeast Asia countries to conduct system maintenance, technical training, and spare parts service, and provide remote technical support.

In the future, FY-3 and FY-4 follow-up satellites will have instruments like solar telescope, and magnetometer, which will shield solar observation in China from the disruption of the night and rainy and overcast weather. These instruments, coupled with space magnetic field probing, will make fundamental conditions for space weather forecast markedly improve and enable the use of domestically produced data to predict space weather.

To better meet the needs of addressing climate change, preventing disasters and reducing damages, serving ecological civilization construction and “Belt and Road” initiatives, CMA will be further committed to enhancing the application of satellite data in numerical weather prediction, providing custom-made products and high-accuracy datasets, etc.

Editor: Liu Shuqiao