China's recently launched weather satellite Fengyun-3D, with as many as 10 remote sensing instruments, is expected to provide faster and more accurate weather forecasts and improve extreme weather monitoring, a National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) official said Wednesday.
China sent the Fengyun-3D, a new polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, up at 2:35 a.m. on Wednesday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China's Shanxi Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xian Di, head of NSMC's satellite data-sharing department, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the new satellite will officially go into operation three to six months after some instrument tests.
"After that, the Fengyun-3D will join other Fengyun 3 satellites in shortening the reporting intervals of world weather updates from the current six hours to four, and the updates can remain valid for up to 3 days," Xian said.
NSMC's official WeChat account says that the Greenhouse-gas Absorption Spectrometer (GAS), one of the 10 remote sensing instruments the satellite carries, could be effective in monitoring global carbon dioxide. This is the first time for a Fengyun satellite to be equipped with the sensors, according to Xian, who notes that it also carries a Hyperspectral Infrared Atmospheric Sounder, with cutting-edge technology.
It is expected to better support mid-to-long-range weather predictions in China and to significantly improve forecasting efficiency, especially for typhoons or other high-impact weather, by up to 5 to 7 days in advance, according to the NSMC website.
The new instruments can also help China monitor smog, possible draughts, or the vegetation coverage rate, Xian said.
He added that the data collected by Fengyun-3D, as is the case with the other satellites, will be available to the rest of the world for free, as long as the applicants install the correct preprocessing software packages, available upon request from the NSMC website.
The NSMC official said on a related note that they have been providing free training programs for developing countries, especially those along the route of the Belt and Road initiative.
They have visited Tajikistan and the Philippines in 2017 to train local agencies in the use of a remote sensing application platform for the Fengyun satellites, said Xian.
In comparison to the Fengyu-3D's 10 advanced instruments, the U.S.' new weather satellite, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), only carries five remote sensing instruments. This means that the Chinese one can gather a wider range of weather data, such as space weather, and is just as accurate as its U.S.counterparts, Xian noted.
China has plans to put four more Fengyun-3 satellites into orbit between 2018 and 2021, according to Xinhua.