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Satellite to measure Earth's precipitation

By Zhao Yimeng | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-03 07:43
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The Fengyun-3G, a satellite measuring precipitation on Earth, officially began operational services on Wednesday after being launched last April, China Meteorological Administration said.

As China's first low-orbit precipitation measurement satellite, FY-3G can monitor hazardous weather and provide three-dimensional precipitation information.

Chen Lin, deputy chief designer of the FY-3G ground system, said global observation of precipitation, particularly that of three-dimensional structures, has been a challenge in meteorological detection.

The launch of the FY-3G satellite signifies progress in the country's global precipitation observation and three-dimensional structure detection capabilities, he said.

Since October, the satellite has completed over six months of operational trial runs, with stable operation of the satellite-ground system. Functions such as the receiving, processing and archiving of data have met the standard level.

The satellite has provided strong support for meteorological services related to major events such as the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year. It also offered data to monitor floods in Pakistan and the recent heavy rainfall in Yemen, Chen said.

China has successfully launched 21 independently developed Fengyun meteorological satellites since 1988, with nine currently operational.

As the 20th satellite in the Fengyun system, FY-3G is the world's first satellite to deploy the combined detection of active precipitation measurement radar with passive microwave and optical remote sensing, marking a transition from passive observation to active probing.

This integration enhances China's comprehensive meteorological observation capabilities, according to the administration.

FY-3G can capture critical information such as the internal temperature and humidity of typhoons, typhoon intensity and affected areas, which enables the prediction of typhoon development and precise monitoring of related rainfall events.

The China Meteorological Administration, along with the Ministry of Emergency Management and other departments, said China may experience an increase of heavy rainfall in May, particularly in the southern and northwestern regions, elevating the risk of geological disasters.

The risk of forest fires is high in parts of northeastern and southwestern China, while Yunnan province may face continuing droughts. The central and western areas of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region as well as Northwest China are at high risk of encountering dust storms.

Moreover, northeastern, southwestern and southern regions may face increasing risks of agricultural disasters, according to a notice released by the emergency management authority on Wednesday.

Analysis by a number of departments suggests that in May, regions including parts of Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Hunan provinces are forecast to see a 20 to 50 percent increase in precipitation.

This increased rainfall may lead to severe weather such as thunderstorms and strong winds, posing a higher risk of flooding and hail, the notice said.

Meanwhile, Yunnan, western Guizhou and southern Sichuan may experience temperatures 1 to 2 C higher than the same period in previous years, with precipitation levels 20 to 50 percent lower than normal, it said.

Prolonged drought conditions in Yunnan may worsen due to higher temperatures and continued low precipitation. Frequent cold air and strong wind activities are expected in northern regions.

The risks of forest fire are expected to be high in parts of Inner Mongolia and the provinces of Heilongjiang, Sichuan and Yunnan, it added.

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