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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, p58.

HISTORY OF EUMETSAT, p56.


p57

set-up was highly centralised with the ground station located not far from Darmstadt, and the facilities for mission and satellite control and the extraction of meteorological products located at ESOC. This arrangement was made because there was no alternative when EUMETSAT was formed.

By 1991, EUMETSAT was eager to have control of its satellites and thus control its expenditure more directly and match the ground segment to user needs. The situation in early 1991 was that the Secretariat, with the support of external consultants, had defined the requirements for a ground segment. These were:

· Data reception at a ground station

· Image processing and dissemination to users and the Meteorological Information Extraction Centre (MIEC) at ESOC (where certain meteorological products were derived centrally for all users)

· Data archiving and retrieval

· Processing of observations relayed from DataCollection Platforms

· Satellite control

· Mission control

· In-orbit commissioning

· Ground communications

By 1992 these functional requirements had been parcelled into a number of stand-alone elements, which could either be located together centrally or distributed to different geographic locations. The elements were:

· Primary and Back-up Ground Stations (PGS/BGS)

· Mission Control Centre (MCC) for satellite control and including the Core Facility

· Meteorological Products Extraction Facility (MPEF - a new name for the MIEC)

· Meteorological Archive and Retrieval Facility (MARF)

(The Core Facility was to undertake mission management and control, image processing and dissemination, and processing of observations from the Data Collection Platforms.)

As this stage in the evolution of the ground segment architecture, EUMETSAT was still assuming that there would be one centre - the MPEF - that would extract a pre-defined set of meteorological products and disseminate them to all Member States. Product extraction is, of course, a highly important activity of EUMETSAT, so not surprisingly disagreements arose among delegations about where geographically the MPEF should be located. The question was whether the MPEF should be located centrally or at a National Meteorological Service.

Two factors dominated the debate - technical and political.

Technically, there was disenchantment from some of Europe's meteorologists with the meteorological products extracted from Meteosat's data by the MIEC. Although the quality of the products was not in dispute, there was disappointment that there had not been any new products. Further, some National Meteorological Services extracted their own products from the raw data rather than relying on those produced in Darmstadt.

Thus, when it came to discussing the location of EUMETSAT's facility for extracting


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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