Cloud swirls, snow-covered Alpine peaks and sediments in the sea off the Italian coast – the first image from a new European weather satellite gives scientists hope for better storm warnings because of its sharpness of detail.

Because with the previous model of the satellite, many details were less clear or not at all visible, said the European space agency Esa based in Paris and the European weather satellite operator Eumetsat.

The Meteosat Third Generation Imager-1 (MTG-I1) satellite acquired its first image on March 18. By the end of the year, it is supposed to deliver data to the weather services.

Better data for prediction

The new satellite was launched in mid-December. It offers higher resolution and updates its recordings more frequently than its predecessors. This is intended to provide the national weather services with better data for forecasting – especially for rapidly emerging and rapidly changing weather conditions. The German Weather Service expects an important contribution to civil protection.

Storm clouds should be recognized more clearly using the satellite data and their lifespan better estimated. In addition, the predictions should be able to be limited to a smaller area. For the first time, “MTG-I1” will also be used to record lightning for Europe via a satellite. According to the information, the data also makes it possible to automatically detect fog and forest fires.

In addition to other imager satellites with imaging instruments, the “MTG-I1” series also includes so-called sounder satellites – satellites with spectroscopic instruments. They can be used to track the three-dimensional movement of water vapor and other gases in the atmosphere. The first of these is to be launched in the coming year.