EUMETSAT and NOAA sign agreement on Joint Polar System

EUMETSAT and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States today signed an agreement on their Joint Polar System (JPS), which will provide observations from two complementary polar orbits in the period from 2020 to 2040.

Wednesday, 02 December 2015

TN-PR - 151202 - JPS agreement signature

This JPS Agreement was foreseen by the Agreement on Long Term Cooperation signed on 27 August 2013 and extends to a new generation of polar-orbiting satellites the cooperation established since 1998 on the Initial Joint Polar System which builds on EUMETSAT’s Metop and NOAA’s POES and Suomi-NPP satellites.

Under the new Agreement signed today by Stephen Volz, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, and Alain Ratier, Director-General of EUMETSAT, both organisations will establish and operate a Joint Polar System composed of EUMETSAT’s Metop-Second Generation (Metop-SG) satellites, NOAA’s JPSS satellites and shared ground systems and services. Joint operations will include cross support for data acquisition and spacecraft monitoring through European and US ground stations located in Svalbard, Spitzbergen, and McMurdo, Antarctica. 

The Metop-SG and JPSS satellites will continue to respectively cover the mid-morning and the afternoon orbits to provide more frequent global coverage for a broader range of observations of weather, atmospheric composition, ocean and land surfaces. 

Group Photo

Polar-orbiting meteorological satellites provide the most important observational inputs to the numerical weather prediction (NWP) models used for up to 10 days. Today, the observations from the Initial Joint Polar System account for nearly 50% of the contributions of all observations to the reduction of errors in numerical forecasts for day 1, and further improvements to forecasts are expected from the enhanced observation capabilities of the JPS satellites.

"This agreement is a new landmark in our strategic cooperation with NOAA"

After the signature, which took place during the 84th session of the Council of EUMETSAT, Alain Ratier said: “This agreement is a new landmark in our strategic cooperation with NOAA and will continue to provide substantial benefits to Europe, the United States and the worldwide meteorological community. We know from studies that our current Initial Joint Polar System has more positive impact on forecasts than the sum of our individual contributions, and I am sure the impact will increase with the future Joint Polar System.”

Stephen Volz said: “Today’s agreement means our [NOAA and European] forecasters can rely on improved satellite data to predict and track storms and monitor the global environment from space for years to come.”  He added: “Our successful partnership with EUMETSAT demonstrates why international collaboration and full, free, and open data sharing are essential to meeting NOAA's commitment to protecting lives and property in the United States."


The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8, -9 and -10 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT also operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the Jason ocean altimetry missions exploited jointly with NOAA, NASA and CNES.

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

From 2016 onwards, EUMETSAT will exploit the Copernicus Sentinel-3 marine mission in cooperation with ESA and on behalf of the EU, and deliver data services to the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service.

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