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China launches new meteorological satellite to improve weather forecast, monitor sea temperature

BEIJING (PTI): China on Monday successfully launched a new meteorological satellite with 11 remote sensing payloads, which besides enhancing the country's weather forecasting capacity, will monitor global snow coverage and sea surface temperatures.

The satellite was launched into planned orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Equipped with 11 remote sensing payloads, FY-3E will be the world's first meteorological satellite in early morning orbit for civil service, the report said.

It is designed with a lifespan of eight years and will mainly obtain the atmospheric temperature, humidity and other meteorological parameters for numerical prediction applications, improving China's weather forecast capacity.

It will also monitor the global snow cover, sea surface temperature, natural disasters and ecology to better respond to climate change and prevent and mitigate meteorological disasters.

In addition, the satellite will monitor solar and space environments and their effects, as well as ionospheric data to meet the needs of space weather forecasts and supporting services, the report said.

Wang Ya'nan, a space analyst and chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine told the Global Times that the satellite will cover the same place every morning and then switch to the other side of the Earth in the evening, so that the most critical moments at dawn and dusk can be recorded to provide richer and more accurate observation data both for China and the world.

China's previous launches are all around 10 am in the morning and 2 pm in the afternoon with a six-hour assimilation window, which is not enough to cover the entire observation period, he said.

Now, with the launch of Fengyun-3E, it will make up for the insufficiencies of observation orbits and fill in the gap in weather data, making significant contributions to weather forecasts of the northern and southern hemispheres, China News reported.

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