June 29, 2011
EUMETSAT Council approves SAF CDOP-2 and discusses EPS-SG Preparatory Programme Proposal
EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, held its 72nd Council meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 28-29 June.
The meeting was chaired by Prof. Petteri Taalas, Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. It was the last Council attended by the outgoing EUMETSAT Director-General, Dr. Lars Prahm, who will be succeeded by Alain Ratier, currently Deputy Director-General of Météo France, on 1 August 2011.
Council gave the green light for the second phase of the Continuous Development and Operations Phase (CDOP-2) for EUMETSAT’s Satellite Application Facility (SAF) network, ensuring funding of SAF activities for a period of five years beginning in March 2012. The associated CDOP-2 agreements between EUMETSAT and the SAF leading entities were signed during the second day of Council:
• Support to Nowcasting and Very Short Range Forecasting - Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET)
• Numerical Weather Prediction – Met Office (UK)
• Ocean and Sea Ice – Météo France
• Climate Monitoring - Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)
• Radio-Occultation Meteorology, formerly known as GRAS SAF – Danish Meteorological Institute
• Ozone and Atmospheric Chemistry Monitoring – Finnish Meteorological Institute
• Land Surface Analysis - Portuguese Meteorological Institute
• Support to Operational Hydrology and Water Management - Italian Meteorological Institute
The approval of CDOP-2 ensures that EUMETSAT users will continue to receive the existing operational SAF products and services and will benefit from a wide range of new developments.
Council also discussed the EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) Preparatory Programme Proposal. All Member States agreed that the continuity of measurements from polar orbit was of high importance and therefore recognised the need for the mandatory EPS-SG Programme. All Member States, with the exception of four, were also prepared to approve the content of the EPS-SG Preparatory Programme Proposal and the text of the related resolution. In order to address remaining concerns, the Secretariat of EUMETSAT will now interact closely with those four Member States with the aim of achieving approval of the EPS-SG Preparatory Programme Proposal and the text of the related resolution by 5 October 2011 and full approval of the Preparatory Programme itself by the end of this year.
Turning to policy issues, Council approved the update of the EUMETSAT strategy until 2035. It also took a number of steps to liberalise EUMETSAT’s data policy.
Regarding operations, Council took steps to prepare for the dissemination in Europe of data from the US National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, which is scheduled for launch on 25 October 2011.
Further progress was achieved on the enlargement of EUMETSAT, with Council approving the accession of Estonia as a full Member State from 2012 and of Lithuania from 2014.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-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.