Satellites contribute to global disaster prevention: expert
China's National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) confirmed with the Global Times on Wednesday that it had begun trial operations of its free data-sharing service since Tuesday via China's new-generation of weather satellites, the Fengyun-4, and its first carbon-monitoring satellite, the TanSat, for international users.
Xian Di, head of the NSMC's satellite data-sharing department, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the center has been providing monitoring data collected by Fengyun-4 and TanSat, to users all over the world, as of 8:00 am Tuesday.
Xian said that users worldwide can register via their e-mail with the NSMC website and book a service, for weather or meteorology enthusiasts, and the center will deliver the data in a matter of minutes, completely free of charge.
Yang Jun, NSMC's director general, made the announcement that China will provide data from Fengyun-4 and TanSat for free for international users, at an event in Washington DC, US, on Tuesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
"These two satellites represent the latest in scientific and technological innovation in China and the contribution China has made to meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation globally, as well as climate change response and economic-social development," Yang was quoted as saying in the report.
FengYun-4 was launched in December 2016 as the first of China's second-generation of weather satellites in geostationary orbit and its first quantitative remote-sensing satellite in high orbit, Xinhua said.
"The earlier Fengyun-3 and Fengyun-2 weather satellites delivered as much as 1 petabyte of data for international users in 2016," Xian said, adding that the recipients were in the US, Europe and 37 countries along the route of the Belt and Road initiative.
Yang told the gathering that they had completed the testing of Fengyun-4's platform and payload recently, with the satellite showing stable operation and good performance.
Fengyun-4 is scheduled to go into use early in 2018, Zhang Lin, an NSMC staffer, told the Global Times.
TanSat, also launched in December 2016, was China's first satellite for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and, according to Yang, was "very important for a fuller understanding of the global carbon cycle and its impact on global climate."
When asked about the extent to which data collected by Fengyun-4 and TanSat would be available to the public, Xian said that the service will range from primary data to all kinds of derivative products. This includes the atmosphere motion vector, one of the most popular bits of data and a useful indicator of pending weather disasters, including typhoons.
Maintenance costs for the Fengyun weather satellites in service amount to more than 100 million yuan ($15 million) a year, according to Zhang.