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EUMETSAT and the dust cover of the first history eChapter selector GavaghanCommunications

Meteorology, Meteorological, History

An IGO
monit-
oring
weather and
climate
change

HISTORY OF EUMETSAT, p40.

HISTORY OF EUMETSAT, p38.


p39.

CHAPTER 3

ATLANTIC DATA COVERAGE (GOES BACK-UP) AND THE AMENDED EUMETSAT CONVENTION


To the outside world it was an act of neighbourliness. And indeed neighbourliness is the spirit that prompted EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency (ESA) to move Meteosat-3 (formerly Meteosat-P2) to a position where it could replace the failed US satellite GOES-6 as the look-out for tropical storms and hurricanes approaching the East coast of the United States. Europe's action recognised, too, the help the USA had provided when GOES-4 replaced the failed data collection mission on Meteosat-2 in 1985. From the outset, this mission had not worked, but was supported by Meteosat-l until it came to the end of its life in that year.

In terms of the history of EUMETSAT, however, the significance of the request to move Meteosat-3 was that it precipitated an intense debate within the Organisation that led to the changing of its founding Convention. The new Convention, which finally passed through the formal process of ratification in all Member States in 2000, permits optional programmes, lays down new voting procedures and includes climate monitoring as a new objective for EUMETSAT.

The story begins with the failure of GOES-6 in January 1989. With this failure, the USA had only one satellite in geostationary orbit to provide warning of severe tropical storms developing over both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Whilst waiting for the launch of the first of the new generation of geostationary satellites - GOES-Next - the USA ensured coverage of both oceans during the critical storm seasons by moving its sole remaining geostationary satellite seasonally to cover the West and East coasts as needed. The situation was not ideal.

Then, on 6 March 1989, the first satellite of the "operational" series, Meteosat-4, was launched successfully, leaving Europe with a second fully operational satellite, Meteosat-3, in orbit. The USA asked if Meteosat-3 could be moved to 50° West to cover the East coast. Both ESA and EUMETSAT had to agree to this request. The Agency owned the satellite because it was one of the pre-operational series, but EUMETSAT paid for it to be operated as part of the Meteosat


SEE ALSO| |

1. Meteorologists shed political shackles, a review of Declan Murphy's history of the first 25 years of EUMETSAT (2011), by Helen Gavaghan.


2. An interview in 2010 with Dr Tillman Mohr, a special advisor to the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation, in Science, People & Politics.

eChapter| |TOP

Contents

Preface

Foreword

Introduction

Ch.1

Ch.2

Ch.3

Ch.4

Ch.5

Ch.6

Ch.7

Ch.8

The History of EUMETSAT is available in English and French from EUMETSAT©.
First printed 2001. ISBN 92-9110-040-4

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Eumetsat meteorology meteorological artificial satellites
European Space Agency weather climate policy politics history

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