An introduction to EUMETSAT by Alain Ratier, Director-General
EUMETSAT is a global operational satellite agency at the heart of Europe. Our purpose is to gather accurate and reliable satellite data on weather, climate and the environment around the clock, and to deliver them to our Member and Cooperating States, to our international partners, and to users world-wide.
In our increasingly weather-dependent society, satellite data has become indispensible for the National Meteorological Services to forecast the weather at all ranges and to produce timely warnings and other information that support public and private decision making for our social and economic wellbeing.
"Weather and climate monitoring are global challenges, requiring a coordinated, long-term response."
In addition, satellite observations are relevant to climate monitoring. Over the last 30 years, meteorological satellites like Meteosat have indeed accumulated unique records of our changing climate. Their data, together with those of our Metop and Jason low Earth orbiting satellites, will play a major role in the ongoing development of climate services.
Weather and climate monitoring are global challenges, requiring a coordinated, long-term response based on strategic investments in large infrastructure in space and on ground. Indeed, international cooperation forms a fundamental part of our endeavours: in the framework of World Meteorological Organization, EUMETSAT strives to increase benefits to the user community through cooperation with other satellite operators.
We have a fully integrated cooperation with the United States, sharing and exploiting a joint polar system with their National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which includes two satellites - Metop and NPP Suomi – flying on complementary polar orbits, the so called “mid morning” and “afternoon” orbits. We are also rapidly developing cooperation with satellite operators of China, India, Japan, Korea and Russia to coordinate our respective missions, exchange data and expertise, facilitate distribution of EUMETSAT data world-wide and expand the portfolio of data services available to our Member States.
Our strategic goal is to ensure the continuity and improvement of satellite observations that are vital inputs to the weather, climate and environmental information services delivered by the National Meteorological Services of our Member States for the benefits of the citizens and the economy.
To this end, we operate complex satellite systems around the clock, including a fleet of satellites in three different orbits, we extract a broad range of products from their observations, based on innovative algorithms and processing chains, and we deliver data streams in real time to users over three continents.
Looking into the longer term future, we have already started to develop, in cooperation with ESA, the future geostationary and low Earth satellite systems required to deliver and further improve observations in the 2020-2040 timeframe.
I would like to invite you to explore our website to learn more about EUMETSAT and its activities.