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N° 8–1999: Better opportunities for scientific research with Meteosat Second Generation

11 February 1999

At the beginning of February the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) jointly opened a Research Announcement of Opportunity (RAO) for the scientific use of data from the Meteosat Second Generation satellite system. Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) is a meteorological geostationary satellite system developed by ESA and EUMETSAT, the latter representing the European operational meteorological user community.

The MSG programme foresees a series of three satellites providing observations over a period of at least 12 years, after the launch of the first satellite, MSG-1, by an Ariane launcher, planned for October 2000.

The main instrument of MSG, the SEVIRI imager, will provide about ten times more information than current Meteosat satellites. It will offer new and, in some cases, unique capabilities to characterise clouds, surfaces and the stability of the lower atmosphere, with improved thermal infra-red calibration and radiometric performances. MSG will also carry a Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument that will observe the radiative fluxes reflected and emitted by the Earth.

The objective of the joint Research Announcement of Opportunity is to demonstrate the capability of the Meteosat Second Generation satellite system to foster innovative research in areas such as hydrology and land surface processes, atmospheric, oceanographic and climate research. This announcement will also trigger the demonstration of innovative MSG products beyond traditional imagery and weather forecasts, by European and African users, and will contribute to improved calibration and validation.

The MSG system has primarily been designed to satisfy the needs of the operational meteorological community but it also offers great potential for utilisation beyond the operational exploitation, and operational users will in the, long-term benefit from research with the data. Scientific investigations will be supported through this announcement by the provision of MSG data to the research community at no cost, whereas the funding of the actual research work will be under the responsibility of the investigators. It is also foreseen to grant access to complementary data from ESA Earth Observation satellites where this is necessary.

The selected investigators will be invited to present their results in workshops or conferences jointly organised by EUMETSAT and ESA. The first workshop will take place in mid 2000, i.e. before the launch of the first satellite, in order to present the research plans and coordinate the work.

The Research Announcement of Opportunity is coordinated entirely through electronic means. Proposals for research will be collected via an Internet server operated by ESA under the web address

Proposals will be evaluated by a team of scientists who will access the proposals and submit their evaluation electronically. Background information on the MSG system and its products and services is equally available to researchers and the general public, through the two web addresses:

N.B. This News Release has been distributed in parallel by EUMETSAT

For further information, please contact : ESA Public Relations Division Tel: +33(0) Fax: +33(0)