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China unveils first 3D rainfall maps from inaugural Fengyun-3G Satellite
China's Fengyun-3G satellite captures groundbreaking three-dimensional precipitation data, marking a significant milestone in global weather monitoring and forecasting.
China unveils first 3D rainfall maps from inaugural Fengyun-3G Satellite
by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (SPX) May 18, 2023

On May 15, the China Meteorological Administration unveiled the first set of maps from the country's premier low-inclination orbit precipitation measurement satellite, Fengyun-3 G (FY-3G). These images, supplied by the National Satellite Meteorological Center, illustrate the three-dimensional structure of precipitation at different levels. This invaluable data, collected from the six payloads aboard the satellite, promises to substantially bolster the monitoring and forecasting of catastrophic weather phenomena.

The FY-3G satellite is equipped with six essential payloads, with four designated for operational use and two for testing purposes. The operational instruments comprise a precipitation measurement radar, a microwave imager (for detecting precipitation types), a medium-resolution spectral imager (also for precipitation types), and a global navigation satellite occultation detector. The test instruments include a short-wave infrared polarization multi-angle imager and a high-precision scaler.

China's first spaceborne precipitation measurement radar, the primary payload, is primarily devoted to monitoring precipitation in catastrophic weather systems. It employs a dual-band Ku+Ka system, which is adept at precisely observing the internal three-dimensional structure of various precipitation systems, including typhoons, heavy rainfall, and snowstorms.

On May 7, the FY-3G satellite managed to record the three-dimensional structure of a severe convective weather system in South China. This significant event followed a blue warning for heavy rain and severe convective weather issued by the Central Meteorological Observatory.

Notably, the FY-3G satellite's launch marks a significant milestone for China as it becomes the first country to possess polarization multi-angle satellite observation capabilities in the shortwave infrared band. This is attributed to the test payload shortwave infrared polarization multi-angle imager onboard the satellite. This technological breakthrough enables improved identification of water clouds and the extraction of the effective radius of cloud droplets, thereby enhancing monitoring abilities in the realms of weather forecasting, climate change, and environmental studies.

Launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on April 16, the FY-3G satellite is the third active precipitation measurement satellite in operation worldwide. It comes after dedicated precipitation measurement satellites launched jointly by the United States and Japan. With the successful launch of FY-3G, China has now distinguished itself as the sole country operating four low-Earth orbit weather satellites concurrently in morning and evening, morning, afternoon, and tilted orbits.

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