The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a stunning photo of Earth from its latest satellite imager that captures weather conditions in never-before-seen detail.
Europe’s Meteosat Third Generation Imager-1 (MTG-I1) has delivered its first view of Earth revealing the weather conditions above Africa, Europe, and the Atlantic.
The image was captured on March 18, 2023, and shows a very cloudy day for people living in Northern and Western Europe. Only Italy and the Western Balkans had clear skies when the image was taken.
“The level of detail MTG-I1’s image reveals, unachievable over Europe and Africa from a geostationary orbit until now, will give us a greater understanding of our planet and the weather systems that shape it,” says ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Simonetta Cheli in a press release.
The image was captured by the satellite’s Flexible Combined Imager, one of the instruments that can produce imagery at a might higher resolution, and more frequently, than those on the Meteosat second generation satellites.
It means that details that could not previously be seen; such as cloud vortices over the Canary Islands, snow cover on the Alps, and sediment in the water along the coast of Italy are now visible to scientists back on Earth.
The new imager also gives a far more detailed looked at cloud structures at high altitudes. This will help weather forecasters monitor developing severe weather more accurately than before.
“This remarkable image gives us great confidence in our expectation that the MTG system will herald a new era in the forecasting of severe weather events,” says Phil Evans, the Director General at Eumetsat.
“It might sound odd to be so excited about a cloudy day in most of Europe. But the level of detail seen for the clouds in this image is extraordinarily important to weather forecasters,” he continues.
“That additional detail from the higher resolution imagery, coupled with the fact that images will be produced more frequently, means forecasters will be able to more accurately and rapidly detect and predict severe weather events.”
The MTG-I1 was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on December 13, 2022, and is the first of a new generation of satellites that the ESA hopes will revolutionize weather forecasting.
The satellite is currently undergoing a 12-month calibration phase in which its instruments, the Flexible Combined Imager and the Lightning Imager, are switched on, and the data they produce is calibrated and disseminated to meteorological services in Europe and beyond.
Image credits: EUMETSAT/ESA.