China satellite to monitor B&R, Indian Ocean weather

By Liu Xuanzun and Ma Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/6 14:43:39

Eastern hemisphere forecasts to mainly rely on Chinese network: expert

China has launched a satellite to monitor weather in regions including China and the Indian Ocean in a move that will showcase China's "increasing international discourse power on meteorological satellites," a Chinese specialist said.

The last satellite in the Fengyun-2 series was launched Tuesday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, carried by a Long March-3A rocket, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

With the launch of Fengyun-2H, weather forecasts in the eastern hemisphere will mainly depend on China's meteorological satellites, Zhao Jian, deputy director of the department of system engineering of China National Space Administration, told the Global Times.

The satellite's position will change from its original 86.5 degrees east longitude to 79 degrees east longitude based on a request from the World Meteorological Organization and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) so that it can monitor weather not only in China but also countries along the Belt and Road initiative, including the Indian Ocean and most African countries.

This will improve the accuracy of weather forecasting and provide better meteorological services to countries participating in the Belt and Road initiative, Xinhua said.

Countries along the Belt and Road initiative suffer reportedly more than twice the damage caused by natural disasters compared with the world average, with meteorological disasters being the main factor, according to data from the International Disasters Database.

European weather satellites operating above the Indian Ocean have been kept in service longer than originally intended. The Fengyun-2H will fill in the blank left by their retirement, Zhao noted.

China will provide data and products from the Fengyun satellite series to Belt and Road countries and APSCO member countries free of charge, Zhao said.

"The launch of the Fengyun-2 series shows China's increasing international discourse power on meteorological satellites," Zhao said.

The successful launch of the satellite will play an important role in the development of Belt and Road countries and the building of a community with a shared future, Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"However, the satellite is built for civil development, not for military use," Hu said.

The Fengyun satellites serve more than 80 countries and regions and 2,500 domestic clients. The Fengyun-2 series satellites have monitored all 471 typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea including 141 typhoons in China since 1998, Beijing-based news website reported.

Despite Fengyun-2H being last in the Fengyun-2 series, China will launch more weather satellites in future from the Fengyun-3 and Fengyun-4 programs, Zhao said.

Newspaper headline: China satellite to monitor B&R weather

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