Ten years of Meteosat Second Generation |
28 August 2012
When the first Meteosat Second Generation satellite, Meteosat-8, was launched on 28 August 2002 it heralded a new era of discovery for meteorologists. It became fully operational at 0 degree longitude at the equator on 19 January 2004 and, in addition to providing weather information in much more detail, it provided information on phenomena which had never been considered before.
Meteosat-8 introduced a new instrument - SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible & Infrared Imager), the world's best weather imager in geostationary orbit. This powerful instrument provided an improvement of image resolution in the visible spectrum, to 1 km from 2.5 km, and in the infrared, to 3 km from 5 km, and had multi-spectral imagery. This meant the satellite was suddenly showing features such as fog boundaries. It could be used to track elements such as volcanic ash - particularly useful during the Icelandic volcano eruptions of 2010 and 2011.
SEVIRI was able to supply, at intervals of 15 minutes (compared to 30 with the first generation), images of the earth disc observed by the satellite in 12 different visible and infrared wavelengths (a fourfold increase). By delivering data at twice the previous frequency, Meteosat-8 made it easier for meteorologists to detect high impact weather phenomena, such as thunderstorms.
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