EUMETSAT extends Polar System with NOAA-18 Data
Toward the end of September 2007, a major new source of data was added to the EUMETCast data stream. As part of the European Polar System (EPS), the Metop satellite provides the morning coverage of any particular region, while a NOAA satellite provides the afternoon coverage.
For about a year now, EUMETCast users have enjoyed a continuous stream of high-resolution data, 24 hours a day, from all over the world. As Metop-A orbits the Earth, data is dumped to EUMETSAT's Svalbard ground station, then sent out to users.
This coverage has now been extended to include afternoon coverage from the NOAA-19 satellite. Data from NOAA-19 is collected from various locations, and to include information from the full orbit, an on-board device records the instrument data from the imager (the AVHRR - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer), which is dumped to ground stations as NOAA-19 passes over them. As the recording capacity on NOAA-19 is limited compared with the more recent Metop satellite, only a reduced resolution dataset is possible. This is comparable with the resolution achieved by the APT (Automatic Picture Transmission) data from the same satellite. This data format is known as GAC (General Area Coverage).
As ever, software has been available from day one of these transmissions from SatSignal Software. This has been in the form of a free update to their Metop Manager, which not only processes the GAC data into attractive images, but also makes a composite world-view of it, providing a continously-updated pictorial view of weather across the planet. Even better, the picture moves with the satellite, giving you the experience of travelling on the satellite and watching the Earth pass beneath your feet.
A full resolution version of the above GAC composite image may be viewed here (2.7MB).
To get this data, you need to register for the "NOAA-AVHRR" data as described at elsewhere on this website. Look for the section named "Polar Data Services, Global Data Service (Level 1 data)".