Water-vapour profiles from satellite sounders, characteristics and potential for weather forecasting
Thomas August (EUMETSAT) presents the current polar satellite sounders and makes a comparison with the capabilities of the future MTG infrared sounder
Satellite infrared sounders like IASI allow retrieving the vertical structure of the atmospheric humidity. Their measurements are exploited in synergy with the microwave (MW) sounders, when such companions are present on the same platforms as is the case in the operational EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) programme and in the EPS-Second Generation (SG). This synergy increases the yield and quality of sounding in cloudy pixels. The future infrared sounder (IRS) onboard Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) will operate without MW companions. It will however provide unprecedented spatio-temporal sounding, with a typical ground-resolution of 7km and observations every 30 minutes over Europe.
The extensive utilisation of machine learning guarantees the provision of reliable atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles and uncertainty estimated within less than 30 minutes from sensing. We present here the characteristics of satellite thermodynamic profiles from the current and future missions and the experience made in studies with meteorological services to contribute to nowcasting severe weather events, and prepare to the future sounder missions.