Metop-C Launch

Metop-C: monitoring weather, atmosphere and oceans

The Metop-C polar-orbiting weather satellite was launched at 00:47 (UTC) on 7 November 2018

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Metop-C is the third and last satellite of the Metop series that forms the space segment of the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS).

The EPS system also comprises a comprehensive ground segment enabling EUMETSAT to control the Metop satellites, acquire and process their data and distribute observational products in real time to users worldwide.

The Metop satellites have nine main instruments and fly in a sun-synchronous “mid-morning” polar orbit at an altitude of 817km, which enables global observations of weather, atmospheric composition, ocean and land surfaces.

When Metop-C is commissioned, EUMETSAT will simultaneously operate three Metop satellites equally spaced around their orbit about 120° apart, and this is expected to continue until the de-orbiting of Metop-A, which is planned for 2022.

Last Updated:  Wednesday, 07 November 2018

What observations will Metop-C collect?

Operational meteorology

  • Global and regional numerical weather prediction at ranges from 12 hours to 10 days;
  • Regional nowcasting of high impact weather at mid and high latitudes.

Thumbnail - Metop-C Launch - 3Marine applications

  • Marine meteorology and sea state forecasting;
  • Operational oceanography.

Environment monitoring

  • Air quality monitoring and forecasting;
  • Ozone monitoring.

Climate monitoring

  • Long-term series/climate records of various essential climate variables.

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What observations will Metop-C collect?

  • Vertical profiles of temperature and humidity in the troposphere, even in the presence of clouds;
  • Vertical profiles of ozone concentration, column contents of NO2, SO2, CO and other atmospheric constituents, properties of aerosols;
  • Imagery and properties of clouds;
  • Sea surface temperature, wind at the surface of the ocean and sea ice;
  • Soil moisture, vegetation, land surface temperature;
  • Measurements of charged particles in the space environment.

What are the main applications of Metop data?

Benefit for weather forecasting

Thumbnail - Metop-C Launch - 2Metop’s instruments have opened a new era for numerical weather prediction (NWP) in Europe and worldwide, significantly reducing errors in numerical forecasts at ranges from 12 hours to 10 days.

The reduction of day 1 forecast errors brought about by Metop-A was a factor 2.5 larger than a satellite of the previous generation, accounting for 24.5% of the reduction in errors due to all observations available in real time.

After the recent launches of new generations of polar-orbiting satellites by NOAA and the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA), studies have confirmed that the Metop satellites still have the highest positive impact on numerical weather prediction, contributing 27% to the reduction of errors of day 1 forecasts due to all available observations.

The launch of Metop-C is also essential to ensure a smooth transition to the upcoming EUMETSAT Polar System - Second Generation (EPS-SG) to be deployed in the 2021-2023 timeframe and to expand the climate records initiated in 2006 by Metop-A.

Working with the U.S.

Thumbnail - Metop-C Launch - IJPS logoThe EUMETSAT Polar System is Europe’s contribution to the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States. In order to provide an enhanced coverage with a higher revisit frequency at mid latitudes, EUMETSAT’s Metop satellites fly in the “mid-morning” polar orbit while the NOAA JPSS satellites fly in the complementary “afternoon” orbit.

Global Metop data are acquired twice per orbit, approximately every 50 minutes, at Svalbard, Spitzbergen, and McMurdo, Antarctica, and processed products are delivered approximately two hours after sensing to users worldwide for ingestion in global numerical prediction models.

Cooperation, sharing of responsibilities and funding

The EUMETSAT Polar System involves cooperation between EUMETSAT, the European Space Agency (ESA), France’s Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the US NOAA.


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