Weather satellites manufactured, launched and operated by China, along with related products widely used in weather forecasting and research, are playing an increasing role in modernizing China's weather report.
"China has become one of the world's countries capable of manufacturing, launching and operating both polar orbiting meteorological satellites which circle the earth and geostationary meteorological satellites which stay in a fixed place above the equator," Qin Dahe, director-general of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), announced yesterday in Beijing.
China has, since 1988, launched five weather satellites, known as the Fengyun I-II series, three of which are polar orbiting and two geostationary, which have brought meteorological work in China up to world levels, Qin said at a ceremony marking the 30 anniversary of the National Satellite Centre under the CMA.
Over the past three decades, China has laid a solid foundation in satellite-based meteorology research and the development of weather satellites themselves.
Such achievements have made a significant contribution to the nation's economy, the improvement of national defence systems and to a variety of public weather services, Qin said.
In the foreseeable future, Qin pledged, the country will use satellites to improve the accuracy of meteorological observation and the collection of data on global climate changes to improve the monitoring of weather-related disasters, especially typhoons and torrential rains that usually trigger floods.
To date, the satellites have helped China to extend its weather observations beyond traditional and conventional limits to include monitoring of the atmosphere and the surface of the earth including the oceans.
Information collected, processed and transmitted by the satellites and many related products developed for satellite use are useful in weather forecasting, oceanic research, agriculture, forestry, water conservation, aviation, navigation and environmental protection, experts say.
Data sent back by meteorological satellites show not only the moving cloud images people see on TV weather reports but also tell meteorologists about regional vegetation changes, the evolution and progress of dust storms, heavy fogs, forest and grass fires, blizzards, urban hot island effects and the growth of some crops.
Weather satellites show weather patterns which cannot be seen from the ground. Satellite are equipped with light and transmitters, and other recording instruments.
(China Daily 06/30/2001)