This significant new operational capability will provide Metop meteorological and environmental data to US and European weather services approximately twice as fast as they receive it at present by reducing the amount of time that meteorological sensor data stored on the satellite’s on-board recorders must wait before being downlinked to the ground for processing.
The project was conceived and is managed by long-standing operational partners, EUMETSAT and NOAA, who have teamed-up with NASA and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide a new data acquisition and transfer capability for EUMETSAT’s Metop series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites at NSF’s McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
McMurdo hosts the recently refurbished NASA MG-1 ground station which acquires the Metop satellite descending orbit global data dumps, while the new NOAA-NSF McMurdo Multi-mission Communications System (MMCS) transfers the data from Antarctica to EUMETSAT’s Operations Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. On reception at EUMETSAT, the McMurdo acquired half-orbit is immediately processed and disseminated to users and subsequently complemented with the second-half (ascending) orbit acquired at Metop’s existing primary ground station in Svalbard, thereby ensuring improved timeliness delivery of data measured throughout the Metop orbit.
The trials (12, 19 and 27 April 2011) included the second data acquisition station at McMurdo - where data collected during the first half of the satellite’s orbit was downlinked. The timeliness of the Level 1 product dissemination for the oldest data downlinked from Metop was improved to around 65 minutes, approximately 50 minutes faster than was possible with EUMETSAT’s current service which is based upon data acquired only once per orbit at the Svalbard ground station in the Arctic.
During the Demonstration Phase, which is foreseen to last until early 2014, Metop-A will average at least 9 McMurdo data dumps per day over McMurdo, in addition to the 14 dumps currently acquired by the Svalbard ground station. Whereas Metop-A level 1 products based on data downlinked from both the McMurdo and Svalbard stations achieved a timeliness of around 65 minutes, those from data downlinked only at Svalbard retained the current timeliness of approximately 115 minutes. From 2014, it is foreseen that McMurdo MG1 shall be available for reception of all Metop orbits.
A list of Metop-A dump operations over McMurdo ground station is available here.
Trial service user feedback
"The ADA impact on timeliness was noticeable for L1 data especially for IASI. More IASI data were used in ECMWF early delivery data assimilation system. No impact on the data volume or quality. Once operational, ADA will be potentially very beneficial for our Early delivery system. On behalf of ECMWF we would like to express our satisfaction and appreciation of ADA."
"We confirmed the improved timeliness during the test period, the delay at our reception system was reduced to 0.9 hours on average for AMSU, and to 1.0 hour for IASI. There were no adverse impacts. For our 09Z-15Z assimilation window, 76% of observations were available to the “main run” at 14:40Z – an increase from 66% the previous day."
"On April 12th, 2011, we received 118 Metop PDU's with a timeliness better than 90 minutes.
The timeliness observed during the period was clearly improved and we very much look forward to the operational ADA service!"
"No problem in our global imagery products, SST products, or Data for NWP."