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by Francesco Benincasa last modified May 29, 2012 03:26 PM


The launch of the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) is a great opportunity for real-time model validation because it combines the specific advantages of the geostationary orbit and geometric, radiometric and spectroscopic capabilities of the high resolution Radiometers. MSG is a joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Explotation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and follows up the success of the first generation METEOSAT weather geostationary satellite series with a larger design boasting higher performance.

MSG has been designed in response to user requirements and serves the needs of nowcasting applications and Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) in addition to provision of important data for climate monitoring and research. MSG system has brought major improvements in these services through the 12 spectral bands of its radiometer, SEVIRI. The full disc view (which includes the whole of Europe, all of Africa and Middle East, see Figure below) allows frequent sampling, every 15 minutes with a spatial resolution from 3km to 1km in the High Resolution Visible (HRV) channel, enabling monitoring of rapidly evolving events. This aids the weather forecaster in the swift recognition and prediction of dangerous weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, fog and explosive development of small but intense depressions, which can lead to devastating windstorms.

The EUMETSAT MSG dust product is RGB composite based upon infrared channels of SEVIRI. It is designed to monitor the evolution of dust storms over deserts during both day and night. The combination does allow however the further (24 hour) tracking of dust clouds as they spread over the sea. The RGB combination exploits the difference in emissivity of dust and desert surfaces. In addition, during daytime, it exploits the temperature difference between the hot desert surface and the cooler dust cloud. The RGB composite is produced using the following MSG IR channels: IR12.0-IR10.8 (on red), IR10.8-IR8.7 (on green); and IR10.8 (on blue). Dust appears pink or magenta in this RGB combination. Dry land looks from pale blue (daytime) to pale green (nighttime). Thick, high-level clouds have red-brown tones and thin high-level clouds appear very dark (nearly black). Emissions and subsequent transport of individual dust events can be very well observed and followed in the RGB composite pictures.

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