Upgraded platform to help prevent, reduce disasters
Updated: November 21, 2023 11:00

The China Meteorological Administration recently launched an upgraded version of the domestically developed Fengyun weather satellite global platform to provide relevant data collected with the satellites for 129 countries and regions.

The data will help prevent and reduce disasters globally, the administration said.

The new version aims to boost real-time monitoring data sharing globally, especially with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, it added.

The platform can analyze a massive amount of weather satellite data and identify hazardous weather and extreme climate events to fulfill the needs of businesses, scientific research and public services.

In June, the domestic version of the platform was launched for domestic users only.

Guided by the needs of forecasters, the platform focuses on weather conditions, including typhoons and severe convective weather — a sudden and destructive weather phenomenon that often includes thunderstorms, hail, gales and heavy rain.

It also provides support for short-term forecast and warning services at the grassroots level. Satellite cloud images can be observed and displayed on the platform within just 10 minutes, the administration said.

Li Jun, chief scientist of the administration's National Satellite Meteorological Center, said that the role of satellite meteorological monitoring is crucial in short-term and near-future forecasting.

"Severe convective weather features a short lifespan and sudden onset. Monitoring and forecasting such weather events has proved challenging," Li said.

He said that forecasting convective weather occurring at a local level, several hours or even minutes in advance, is of paramount importance for decision-makers and the general public.

"Such forecasting usually requires a combination of data sources, including radar monitoring, satellite cloud imagery and weather stations.

"Observation networks on the ground cannot monitor all areas, while weather satellites are key in the monitoring and forecasting of severe convective activities due to their wide observation range and few interference factors," Li added.

China has launched 21 Fengyun weather satellites, of which nine are in orbit, the administration said.

Paul Counet, head of strategy and international relations for the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, said at the Fengyun Satellite User Conference last week that international cooperation among satellite data users is essential.

Counet said the European organization and the CMA will continue to work together to exchange satellite data among users to support new applications such as weather and climate, space weather, oceanography and early warning.

The two sides will also contribute to various World Meteorological Organization initiatives, such as the Early Warning for All Initiative, he added.

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