EUMETSAT has started trial dissemination of MSG-3 image data and meteorological products to national meteorological services in the organisation's Member and Cooperating States and to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
Launched on 5 July, MSG-3 is the latest in the Meteosat series of geostationary satellites. The satellite's commissioning period is progressing well such that the trial dissemination of MSG-3 image data and meteorological products has started. It will be followed by dissemination to the wider user community in mid-December, when MSG-3 commissioning is scheduled to be completed and the satellite is renamed Meteosat-10. This will be followed, in mid-January 2013, by the satellite moving to 0o to deliver the operational service.
Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites provide the operational weather and climate monitoring service over Europe and Africa, based on their optimum use as a two-satellite system: one satellite provides full disc imagery of the European and African continents and parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans every 15 minutes, while the second delivers more frequent images every five minutes (Rapid Scanning Service) over Europe and North Africa.
Starting in mid-December, Meteosat-10 will conduct full disc scanning for two months in parallel with Meteosat-9, before it takes over, in mid-January, the role of providing the operational service over Europe and Africa, every 15 minutes.
Meteosat-9 will, at a later date, take over the Rapid Scanning Service from Meteosat-8 - the first MSG launched in 2002. Meteosat-8 will then become the in-orbit backup satellite for Meteosat-10 and Meteosat-9 at least until the MSG-4 launch planned for 2015.
Meteosat-9 and -10 will then constitute the two-satellite configuration supporting weather forecasters in one of their most challenging tasks, nowcasting, which involves detecting and monitoring rapidly developing high impact weather phenomena like thunderstorms or fog and issuing related warnings.