Shanghai-made satellite to improve weather forecasting

Shanghai-made satellite to improve weather forecasting


Errors in short-term weather forecasting will be greatly reduced when a new Shanghai-made meteorological satellite is put into formal use next month.

The Fengyun-2C was launched last October as the country`s first international-quality satellite. The weather monitor has been in orbiting on a trial basis over Malaysia since its launch.

“The new satellite will greatly increase the accuracy of short-term weather reporting for Shanghai and other Chinese cities,” Zhou Hongmei, a senior engineer at Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, said.

Scientists explained that some erroneous short-term weather forecasts are caused when satellite-produced cloud maps lack the requisite clarity.

The 1.38-ton satellite, developed by the Shanghai Institute of Space Flight Technology, has an observation range covering one-third of the Earth`s surface. It is equipped with five monitoring channels – two more than its predecessor.

“With two new channels added to its scanning array, the new satellite is capable of capturing more detailed environmental changes,” Zhou said, noting that it will send back better meteorological maps to improve weather forecasting, especially for the next day. The newly added infrared observation and visible-light channels will enable the FY2C to calculate the size of water drops atop cloud layers and better monitor the surface temperature of sea water, experts said. It can also monitor changes in solar and space particle radiation.

China will launch the Fengyun-2D, a more advanced orbiter, in the fall of next year, according to Chen Guilin, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics who participated in the satellite project.