Europe’s meteorological satellite agency, EUMETSAT, is launching an innovative pilot programme to buy, for the first time, data from a commercial satellite fleet operator for use in weather forecasting.
EUMETSAT’s governing council has approved the acquisition of data from Spire Global Luxembourg S.a.r.l. at a maximum cost of €9 million over three years.
EUMETSAT will receive the data, called radio occultation data, from Spire, process it, and disseminate it for use in weather forecast modelling.
“Radio occultation data give us information about the temperature and level of moisture in the atmosphere. The data has a proven positive impact on the accuracy of weather forecasts,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said.
“EUMETSAT already supplies radio occultation data from an instrument on board its Metop low-Earth-orbiting satellites to the meteorological services in its Member States but research has shown that the use of more of these data increases the accuracy of weather forecasting models.
“The decision to buy these data from a commercial supplier on a pilot programme basis allows EUMETSAT and its Member States to assess the costs versus the benefits of opportunities that are available from the ‘new space’ sector.”
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