The first international Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Radio Occultation/Reflectometry (RO/R) conference to combine novel satellite-borne GNSS remote sensing measurements was organized by the National Space Science Center (NSSC) and GFZ, attended by more than one hundred participants, took place in Beijing, China, from the 6th to 11th September, 2018. Jens Wickert, section Space Geodetic Techniques, one of the three main organizers of the meeting stated: " GFZ has significantly developed these GNSS remote sensing techniques with the satellites CHAMP and GRACE, and provided related data operationally for the first time to improve global weather forecasts with RO data also used in climate research."
Jens Wickert together with the other main organiser,Gottfried Kirchengast (member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Director of the Wegener Centre for Climate and Global Change in Graz) visited NSSC at the invitation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who coordinate Chinese scientific satellite missions. NSSC is located north of Beijing in the Chinese ‘Silicon Valley’, who, in cooperation with the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA), are responsible for the implementation of RO measurements aboard the polar-orbiting Chinese weather satellites “Fengyun”.
Another agenda item was the visit of the CMA with the head of satellite meteorology. Wickert: "The method that we have pioneered on CHAMP (GNSS Radio Occultation) is currently being applied aboard two operational polar-orbiting Fengyun-3 satellites, which are comparable to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) MetOp weather satellites. GFZ is involved in the preparations for the next satellite launch of Fengyun-3E, scheduled for 2020. FY-3E will provide, for the first time, operational Radio Occultation and Reflectometry measurements for temperature, water vapour and wind information in parallel."
GFZ has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NSSC for planned cooperation to prepare for future Chinese satellite missions. Wickert commented: "Depending on the developments, a further, more detailed cooperation agreement with the NSSC is planned. GFZ is a sought-after partner, due to the fact we have very specific, pioneering expertise in satellite based GNSS remote sensing techniques." (ks)
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