NOAA 99-36
Contact: Pat Viets


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now has access to satellite imagery that helps NOAA scientists monitor tropical cyclones over the Indian Ocean, dust storms over Africa, the onset of the summer monsoon over India, and other severe weather events, the Commerce Department agency announced today.

The near-real time imagery is from Meteosat-5, a backup geostationary satellite operated by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The imagery, covering the Indian Ocean, Africa, and Asia, is available through an existing agreement between NOAA and EUMETSAT.

Meteosat-5 is in geostationary orbit 22,320 miles above the Earth at 63 degrees East longitude. It was moved from a standby orbit to its current station last May to support the multi-nation Indian Ocean Experiment INDOEX, which addresses questions of climate change that are of great value to the United States and the international community.

Meteosat-5 images are acquired at Lannion, France, by the ground station of Météo-France, France's national weather service. The images are sent automatically via dedicated frame relay circuit to NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) in Suitland, Md., for delivery to the satellite analysis branch. There, scientists use the data along with other global sources of environmental satellite information to: determine the location and intensity of tropical storms, support the identification and monitoring of volcanic eruptions, and for routine snowcover analyses for the climatology community and National Weather Service numerical models.

EUMETSAT has committed to supporting Meteosat-5 imagery from 63°E until the end of 1999. The possible continuation beyond this date is dependent upon an analysis of whether the fuel supply is sufficient to enable the satellite to maintain station with the necessary precision.

Note to Editors: Meteosat imagery is available on the World Wide Web at: Click onto "Meteosat images" or Click onto "Meteosat images"