The evolution of geostationary meteorological systems challenges and technological solutions : The European approach
This paper describes past, present and future European contributions to the World Weather Watch (W.W.W.) of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (G.A.R.P.). The first part of this paper summarizes the main features of the very popular Meteosat program, which data are nowadays widely used in Europe and in USA and which application to various fields of activities as agriculture, oceanography, hydrology, civil engineering, air, sea, and land traffic control has proven to be extremely effective. The second part of the paper describes the approach followed to optimise the future contribution of Europe to W.W.W. In geostationary orbit, the priority was given to nowcasting and to mission availability. A safe and robust spinning satellite concept was selected and provides high resolution Earth images as well as pseudosounding data in 13 spectral bands, every quarter of an hour. The breakthrough achieved in imaging rate, spectral and spatial resolution should allow for definite advances and progresses in meteorology towards 2000. In polar orbit, the priority was given to the improvement of infrared sounding spectral resolution which is a must with respect to weather numerical modelling.