Metop-B delivers first data from polar orbit

October 1, 2012
First data from Metop-B Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS). Credit: Eumetsat

(—Four of the instruments on the Metop-B weather satellite (AMSU-A, ASCAT, MHS, GRAS) have been activated this week and are delivering data.
This demonstrates that Metop-B, launched on 17 September, is performing well and is on its way towards replacing the ageing Metop-A as prime operational satellite in polar orbit, after the six-month commissioning phase.
The Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) and Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) are innovative European instruments. ASCAT delivers information on near-surface wind speed and direction over the global oceans and soil moisture over land, while the MHS delivers information on atmospheric humidity in all weather conditions.

The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) is an American heritage instrument already flying on the US NOAA satellites, providing temperature soundings in all weather conditions.

The Global Receiver for Atmospheric Sounding (GRAS) instrument is delivering data which are used to provide atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles by measuring the bending of GPS signals through the atmosphere. Data from GRAS are also used for precise orbit determination of the Metop-B satellite before and after the nominal stop-drift manoeuvre, in conjunction with traditional ranging and Doppler measurements.

Temperature and humidity soundings, wind at the ocean surface, and soil moisture are essential inputs to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, the basis of modern weather forecasting. The all-weather wind measurements provided by ASCAT are used worldwide to track mid-latitude storms and tropical cyclones.

These instruments also contribute to the long-term data sets needed for climate studies and monitoring.

Explore further: MetOp to be launched in October

More information: Links to the first data can be found under


Related Stories

MetOp to be launched in October

August 7, 2006

MetOp, the first in the new European series of operational meteorological satellites in polar orbit, is now scheduled for launch on 7 October 2006. The new date was established last week following various planning meetings ...

Europe’s new MetOp weather satellite reaches polar orbit

October 19, 2006

For 28 years, Europe has been operating its famous Meteosat weather satellites in geostationary orbit. Today, they were joined by the first of a brand new generation of meteorological satellites. MetOp is designed to provide ...

Europe's next weather satellite gears up for launch

March 20, 2012

( -- Following the safe arrival of the MetOp-B weather satellite in Kazakhstan, the sophisticated craft is now being carefully assembled and tested before launch on 23 May. MetOp-B will provide essential data ...

MetOp-B launches with NASA Goddard-developed instruments

September 18, 2012

(—A new European meteorological satellite soared into space today, Sept. 17, with five environmental instruments aboard that were developed by the Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) Project at NASA's ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.