Objectives and Activities
The WMO Space Programme promotes availability and utilization of satellite data and products for weather, climate, water and related applications of WMO Members.
The WMO Space Programme aims to leverage an "end-to-end” system for weather and climate services. This ranges from receiving satellite data, over calibration to quality control, dissemination and user-training. The Space programme is actively engaged with projects and activities in each of these steps.
The Space Programme's activities span five main components
Integrated space-based observing system
The integrated space-based observing system includes meteorological and environmental satellites and their related ground segments, supporting all WMO-sponsored and co-sponsored programmes as a component of the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS). Through partnerships with satellite operating agencies, the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the WMO Space Programme:
- keeps under review the space-based observing capabilities;
- analyzes gaps with respect to evolving requirements;
- leads the definition and updating of a baseline system;
- supports global planning, optimization, and coordination;
- coordinates satellite inter-calibration;
- encourages transition of new technology to operations.
Availability and use of satellite data and products
While next-generation satellite systems generate increasing amounts of advanced measurements, a major challenge is to ensure that these data and products are available to users in all regions.
The Space Programme supports cooperation aimed at:
- key application products (e.g. SCOPE-CM for climate)
- processing software and data assimilation
- improving data accessibility following a satellite data dissemination strategy, which involves:
- formulation of data access requirements in WMO regions;
- integrated dissemination systems (using DVB-S/S2);
- interoperability through WIS data/metadata standards
- Direct Broadcast protocols, Internet-based services, sounding retransmission and other initiatives.
Awareness and Training
The goal is to raise awareness on satellite capabilities and to promote satellite-related education to keep WMO Members up-to-date with technological evolutions, with focus on developing countries.
The WMO Space Programme:
- implements the four-year strategy for the WMO-CGMS Virtual Laboratory for Training and Education in Satellite Meteorology (VLab), relying on the network of training Centres of Excellence sponsored by satellite operators;
- provides guidance on the availability and usability of satellite data, products and services;
- provides guidance on the specific challenges and opportunities associated with a new-generation of meteorological satellites;
- monitors satellite data use by WMO Members
Space Weather Coordination
The WMO Space Programme supports international coordination of operational activities in Space Weather in order to improve Space Weather hazard warnings for key application sectors such as aviation, radio-communications, satellite operations, electric power delivery, etc. The Space Programme implements through the Expert Team on Space Weather (ET-SWx) the following activities:
- promote the availability, quality, and interoperability of the observations that are essential to support space weather warnings and other services
- improve the collection, exchange, and delivery of space weather data and information through open sharing, internationally agreed standards, and coordinated procedures and by taking advantage of the WMO Information System (WIS) and the WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS);
- regularly review of observing requirements, capabilities, gap analysis, and recommendations for future observations; standardization and enhancement of Space Weather Data exchange and delivery through the WIS;
- integration of Space Weather observations, through regular review of space- and surface-based observation requirements, and monitoring plans for Space Weather observations
- harmonization of end products and services, including sensor specifications, quality assurance guidelines and emergency warning procedures
- information and training, and dialogue between the research- and operational Space Weather communities
The WMO Space Programme coordinates electromagnetic spectrum frequency allocations and protecting the frequency bands used by meteorological and related environmental systems. Specific objectives of these activities are:
- keep under review allocations of radio-frequency bands and assignments of radio-frequencies to meteorological activities for operational requirements (telecommunications, instruments, sensors, etc.) and research purposes
- ensure the proper notification and assignment of frequencies used for meteorological observations as well as other related areas
- prevent any artificial emission in those natural atmospheric radiation bands that are used for passive radiometry, in particular in the microwave region
- secure the allocation of frequencies needed for active measurements, in particular in the microwave spectrum
- secure the allocation of frequencies needed for safe spacecraft operations and data download, and prevent any interference among the various satellite systems comprising the space-based observing system.
The WMO Space Programme operates in the framework or the mandate, vision, mission and strategic priorities of WMO. It is linked to the objectives set out in the WMO Strategic Plan 2020-2023. Its overall goal is to support Members with successfully implementing the global development agendas, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
(Updated February 2022)