October 1, 2009
Météo-France Centre on La Réunion integrated into EARS
The Météo-France Centre on La Réunion, which is in charge of cyclone warnings for the south-western part of the Indian Ocean, recently installed a new antenna allowing it to receive data from EUMETSAT’s Metop-A and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NOAA-17, -18 and -19 polar-orbiting satellites.
During their two daily overflights over the island, each of the satellites’ data are transmitted to the antenna and then treated directly by the station. Information is presented to forecasters in real time on their screens.
The time gained is particularly precious for forecasting cyclones. The images and data obtained, such as temperature profiles and atmospheric humidity, are essential for forecasting phenomena in ocean areas, for which there are limited observation data from other sources.
Within the framework of a cooperation agreement between EUMETSAT and Météo-France, this reception station has been part of the EUMETSAT Advanced Retransmission Service (EARS) network since 15 September. It is the first station of this network in the Southern Hemisphere. The EARS network now includes coverage of the Indian Ocean, in addition to Europe, the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. By integrating stations of the same type as La Réunion, this network allows the faster transmission of satellite data for national meteorological services to use in their weather forecasting models. These data include those from onboard atmospheric sounders and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and, for some stations, from Metop’s Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) measuring surface ocean winds.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 24 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and six Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Romania).
EUMETSAT is operating the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-6 and -7 over the Indian Ocean.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added ocean surface topography to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites make a significant contribution to weather forecasting and to the monitoring of the global climate.
Keeping close watch on the climate 24 hours a day, Météo-France is the national meteorological service for metropolitan France and French overseas territories. Its 3,700 engineers, researchers and technicians monitor the atmosphere, snow cover and the ocean surface, drawing on the resources of one of Europe's densest observation networks, including meteorological ground radars, ships equipped with measurement stations, high-altitude radiosondes and satellites. Leveraging in-depth knowledge of the atmosphere and climate, Météo-France develops customized services and products for both public and private-sector clients. On the international level, Météo-France participates actively in the work of the World Meteorological Organization and exports its know-how, notably through its affiliate, Météo France Internationale, to contribute to policies promoting sustainable development.
Météo-France is a public institution reporting to the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea, in charge of green technologies and climate change negotiations.