EUMETSAT, Japanese space agency to cooperate on greenhouse gas monitoring

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EUMETSAT and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today signed an agreement which will result in the agencies working closely together to monitor greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Mr Kazuo Tachi, on behalf of the Direc tor General of JAXA’s Space Technology Directorate 1 Ryoichi Imai, and EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier signed the agreement at a ceremony at EUMETSAT’s Darmstadt headquarters today.

Japan’s Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) was the world’s first satellite mission specifically designed for monitoring greenhouse gases. Instruments on the low-Earth-orbiting satellite measure carbon dioxide and methane for a decade. GOSAT-2 was launched in October as the successor to GOSAT.

"This cooperation with EUMETSAT is crucial to promote the satellite data to support improving national greenhouse gases inventories reports as well as precise understanding of the status of global greenhouse gases," Tachi said. "JAXA also would like to enhance GOSAT and GOSAT-2 data utilisation in weather forecasting operations through cooperation with EUMETSAT."

Under the agreement signed today, GOSAT and GOSAT-2 measurements will be calibrated against measurements taken by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) on EUMETSAT’s three Metop satellites.

EUMETSAT will make the data from a series of GOSAT satellites operationally available to its users, the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), in particular.

"The agreement between EUMETSAT and JAXA will support the implementation of the international part of the agreed European Roadmap Towards an Operational CO2 Monitoring System, which is essential for deepening understanding of climate change," Ratier said. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).

It was designated as a core performance agency to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilisation. JAXA, therefore, can conduct integrated operations from basic research and development, to utilisation.

JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, and took a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, according to the government’s purpose of establishing a national R&D agency. The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat -9, -10 and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-8 over the Indian Ocean.

EUMETSAT operates three Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EUMETSAT is also a partner in the cooperative sea level monitoring Jason missions (Jason-2, Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6) involving Europe and the United States.

The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and climate change.

The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT carries out these tasks in cooperation with ESA and already exploits the Sentinel-3 marine mission.

EUMETSAT has established cooperation with operators of Earth Observation satellites from Europe and China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

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