Taiwan weather satellite benefiting 47 nations


TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taiwan-made weather satellite, the Formosat-3/COSMIC, has been transmitting data to 47 nations as of yesterday, two years after it was first put in space, the National Space Program Office (NSPO) reported.

The Formosat-3/COSMIC mission has so far provided near-realtime information to 842 researchers and institutions from 47 nations, including information on the global distribution of air pressure, temperature, and water vapor of the atmosphere, as well as the electron density of the ionosphere, NSPO Director Jiun-jih Miau said.

Data from the satellite help the various countries forecast the weather, including dramatic changes such as typhoons, and help them determine weather patterns and changes in the climate.

The COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate) data has also been integrated into weather forecast systems of the United States, the European Union and major countries in Asia, Miau said at the opening of the 2008 Formosat-3/COSMIC annual science meeting which will last from Oct. 1-3 in Taipei.

In the near future, the space program will strive to conduct an “intense observation period” to perform cross data validation as well as prediction studies of typhoon track, heavy rainfall areas, and rainfall accumulation in the East Asia region, Miau added.

The Formosat-3/COSMIC annual science meeting is the main international forum for scientific discussions and interactions among those involved in the Formosat-3/COSMIC space mission and related sciences.

The meeting was held in conjunction with the fourth Asian Space Conference.

Altogether, 300 scholars and specialist and students from 14 nations and the host Taiwan are taking part in the two related events.

The Formosat-3/COSMIC mission, part of the national science program’s satellite project and built in collaboration with the United States, was launched in April 2006 from a U.S. military base in California and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Currently, the orbiting satellite FORMOSAT-3, consisting of six mini-satellites, is conducting space-borne GPS radio occultation of atmospheric and ionospheric sounding observations numbering up to 2000 per day.