Earth from Space: Earth Day

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Each year on 22 April, people across the planet join forces to raise awareness about the depleting quality of the environment, the unequivocal effects of climate change and the importance of protecting our planet for future generations. We celebrate Earth Day every day at ESA. This week, this spectacular image of Earth is brought to you by the Meteosat Second Generation series of missions.

Thanks to satellites in orbit, we can understand the intricacies of the Earth system and answer important questions on how natural processes are changing due to the everyday pressure of human activity. Satellites provide essential information for everyday applications, improving agricultural practices, to help when disasters strike, and thanks to the Meteosat series, provide crucial data for weather forecasting.

Given that extreme weather and severe storms pose significant and increasing hazards to society, the Meteosat satellites provide detailed, full disc imagery over Europe and Africa every 15 minutes and rapid scan imagery over Europe every five minutes.

This imagery is crucial for nowcasting, which is about detecting rapidly high impact weather and predicting its evolution a few hours ahead, in support of the safety of life and property. These observations are also used for weather forecasting and climate monitoring.

The Meteosat missions have guaranteed the continuous flow of data for weather forecasting since 1977, and later this year, we will soon begin a new era in weather and climate monitoring with Meteosat Third Generation (MTG).

The third generation will not only guarantee the continuity of data for weather forecasting, but offer significant enhancement of the current imager capabilities, an all-new infrared sounding capability and real-time lightning imaging for early detection of severe storms as they develop.

For the overall MTG mission two types of satellite are being developed; the Imaging satellite (MTG-I) and the Sounding Satellite (MTG-S). MTG-I1 is currently at Thales Alenia Space’s facilities in Cannes, France, undergoing an extensive testing campaign to ensure that the satellite will survive the rigours of the launch and the hostile environment of space.

MTG is a cooperation between ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat). ESA is responsible for the definition and implementation of the MTG satellites and procurement of recurrent hardware, while Eumetsat is in charge of operating the spacecraft throughout its lifetime as well as data retrieval, processing and distribution.

For more information on the MTG mission, click here.

The image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

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