China is planning the construction of a new global system for gathering high-precision meteorological data based on the interpretation of signals beamed down from satellites, according to the second institute of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd. (CASIC).
The "global occultation meteorological detection constellation" will measure the frequency, phase and amplitude of signals transmitted by navigation satellites, recording how they change after passing through the ionosphere and atmosphere. The resulting data will allow meteorologists to calculate the temperature, humidity and pressure of the atmosphere, as well as the ionospheric electron density.
According to CASIC, the occultation detection technique is capable of providing uniformly distributed neutral atmosphere and ionosphere information around the globe, permitting the monitoring and forecasting of the ionospheric environment, numerical weather forecasts, typhoon forecasts, near-space environment monitoring and aviation meteorology.
As one of the most promising methods of atmospheric probing, it has the advantages of high vertical resolution, long-term stability, no need for calibration, global coverage and all-weather operations, making up for the inadequacies of traditional methods of meteorological observation.
Ma Jie, an official with CASIC's second institute, said that a test satellite for the occultation meteorological detection constellation was launched into orbit in 2021, and is capable of detecting and generating nearly 1,000 atmospheric data profiles per day.