Cooperation works

Fengyun meteorological satellites. Green: retired satellites; White: satellites in orbit; Yellow: satellites to-be-launched
National Satellite Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration

Weather is a world-wide phenomenon that requires world-wide study and analysis. Scientists around the globe have overcome economic, political, and geographical barriers to work together in learning more about what makes out atmosphere tick. We all benefit from this collaboration.

We have superb NOAA satellites monitoring the Western Hemisphere, but weather is a global system, so we need more data. China began the development of the Fengyun (FY) series of satellites in 1970. As you would expect they have gotten more and more sophisticated with 17 total launches, seven of which are currently in orbit.

“Several approaches for FY satellite data access have been developed for real-time users, scientific researchers, and public users.” said Dr. Peng Zhang, the deputy director of National Satellite Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration. “All FY satellite data products are open to the world users and free to download.”

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and weather forecasting agencies in China have assimilated the wide array of FY data into many numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Since the 1990s, coupled meteorological satellites and numerical models have changed the way scientists understand the Earth. You may remember that the ECMWF is famously more accurate in medium and long-range forecasting than the American Global Forecast System (GFS).

While it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a global community of dedicated scientists to produce life-saving weather information.

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