EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, held its 70th Council meeting in Rome, Italy, on 21-22 June 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
At the Council, the texts of the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) Programme Resolution and Programme Proposal were approved by all Member States, with Germany and Portugal voting yes ad referendum. This defines the scope and cost of the programme. In addition, 14 Member States confirmed their support for the programme itself, with the remaining Member States expected to follow before next Council. The EUMETSAT Director-General, Dr. Lars Prahm, said, “MTG is now on track, securing the future of EUMETSAT’s geostationary meteorological observations and services until at least 2038.”
The Second Generation EUMETSAT Polar System starting in 2018 took further shape, with Council agreeing that a two satellite configuration be studied in Phase A with distributed payloads for the two satellites.
Regarding the Jason-3 ocean altimetry satellite, the Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The MoU was initialled by Dr. Prahm and Abigail D. Harper, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Systems, at the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)/NOAA. The Cooperation Agreement with the CNES on Jason-3 was also approved by the Council, and both it and the MoU with NOAA and NASA will be signed by correspondence after the meeting.
The Council approved the Cooperation Agreement between EUMETSAT and the Italian National Meteorological Service (NMS) on the Continuous Development and Operations Phase (CDOP) of the Satellite Application Facility on Support to Hydrology and Operational Water Management led by the Italian NMS. The CDOP will cover the period between September 2010 and February 2012. The Cooperation Agreement was signed during the Council by Dr. Prahm and Gen. Dr. Capaldo, allowing the Hydrology SAF to become operational.
“MTG is now on track, securing the future of EUMETSAT’s geostationary meteorological observations and services until at least 2038.”
The EUMETSAT Council reaffirmed the role of EUMETSAT in the European Space Policy and in GMES through the adoption of a dedicated resolution.
This Resolution emphasised the need to recognise that user-governed entities, such as EUMETSAT, play an important role in structuring space activities, particularly when these activities address operational services, as it is the case with GMES.
Through the Resolution, EUMETSAT Member States recalled the contribution that EUMETSAT is providing today in support of the implementation of the European Space Policy in general and of GMES in particular. EUMETSAT Member States agreed on a definition of the activities that can be carried out by user-governed entities and offered that, in the GMES context, EUMETSAT is involved from the federation of user requirements at European level up to and including the operations of the related satellites. These activities would come in support of the European Commission which, through the EU Lisbon Treaty, now has a specific competence on space matters.
In the GMES context, the European Commission is responsible for the interaction with user communities to specify European space systems in support of European policies. EUMETSAT could be the European entity supporting the EU for the GMES activities related to operational oceanography, atmospheric composition monitoring and climate monitoring.
The EUMETSAT Council asked the Chairman of Council to deliver its views to the European Commission as a contribution to a Communication on governance of space matters announced for September 2010 and to the discussion of the Space Council meeting planned in November 2010.
The meeting took place in Rome because it was the last Council chaired by General Dr. Massimo Capaldo, Head of the Meteorological Department (Chief of the Staff Office - Ufficio Generale Spazio Aereo e Meteorologia) in the Italian General Meteorological Office.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 25 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, 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, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, Romania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates 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.