Taipei, March 6 (CNA) Data on the Earth's atmosphere collected by the FormoSat-7 satellite, a U.S.-Taiwan collaboration, will be officially made available to the public starting Saturday, Taiwan's National Space Organization (NSPO) said Friday.
Every day at 10 a.m., the NSPO will release the meteorological data of the previous day at https://tacc.cwb.gov.tw/v2/download.html, which is expected to strengthen global weather forecasting capabilities, said program director Vicky Chu (???).
The Taiwan-made six-satellite constellation, which carries sensors developed by the U.S., provide data from about 4,000 locations between latitudes 50 degrees north and 50 degrees south, Chu said.
Given that three to four times more data is being collected from the FormoSat-7 than from its predecessor, FormoSat-3, which Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau and other global weather centers currently depend on to a large extent, it will give forecasters a much greater sense of the atmosphere, she said.
CWB deputy head Cheng Chia-ping (???) said FormoSat-7 could play a crucial role because the area it tracks is mostly covered by the sea, a traditional blind spot and the greatest challenge for weather forecasting.
While land-based weather stations are relatively easy to build, there are not enough monitoring instruments at sea, making it difficult to analyze storms in their formative stages, he said.
It could particularly help Taiwan because the country is battered by frequent typhoons and extreme rains, Cheng said.
A CWB study found that by including data from the FormoSat-7 in its numerical weather prediction model, its capabilities to forecast a typhoon's path in 120 hours' time could improve by 7 percent, he said.
In addition to horizontal data, the FormoSat-7 satellites will also be able to build a vertical profile of the atmosphere every 100 meters up from sea level, enabling a more three-dimensional understanding of weather conditions, Cheng said.
"The data will enable us to learn more about the mechanisms behind extreme weather, which will improve our forecasting abilities," he said.
In addition to meteorological data, FormoSat-7 will be collecting data from the ionosphere, the ionized part of Earth's upper atmosphere, Chu said, adding that such information will be separately maintained by Taiwan at https://tacc.cwb.gov.tw/v2/trops_download.html
That electron density data can be used to forecast weather in space, explained Charles Lin (???), an earth sciences professor at National Cheng Kung University, which along with the NSPO, CWB and National Central University maintains the information platform.
Data of any space weather, such as a solar storm, that might disrupt the ionosphere and lead to mistakes in GPS positioning, threatening transportation safety and the supply of electricity, will be available every 30 minutes.
"By comparison, FormoSat-3 feeds that information every three hours, while NASA satellites feed it every three months," Lin said.
FormoSat-7 was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 25, 2019, and is expected to operate for at least five years, the NSPO said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel