Speaking at the event in Leuk, Mr Berset stressed the vital role of international technical and scientific cooperation in the operation of weather satellites. He also emphasised the central importance of EUMETSAT and its task of making observation data available to its member states.
Weather satellites provide data on cloud development, the concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere, and temperature and humidity profiles, among other things. As such, they play a crucial role in forecasting weather, improving severe weather warnings and studying climate change.
The latest generation of weather satellites, to be launched from the end of 2022, will offer new opportunities for the development of innovative meteorological and climatological data and products. In the future, satellite data will make it possible to monitor thunderstorm activity in a matter of seconds, optimise the potential for using solar energy and review the quality of numerical weather prediction models, for example.
In order to harness all these benefits, the capacity for receiving and processing data needs to be significantly enhanced: it is estimated that the volume of available data will be more than 10 times today's levels. Following the launch of the first satellite, this state-of-the-art station with its three 6.5-metre antennas will receive huge volumes of meteorological data every minute, which it will forward to EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany.
Operating weather satellites is extremely complex and expensive. Founded in 1986, EUMETSAT is an operational agency with 30 member states sharing data and costs. Switzerland covers around 3.5% of the agency's costs. The Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss represents Switzerland's interests within this intergovernmental European organisation.