The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) Polar System is the European contribution to the European–U.S. operational polar meteorological satellite system (Initial Joint Polar System). It serves the midmorning (a.m.) orbit 0930 Local Solar Time (LST) descending node. The EUMETSAT satellites of this new polar system are the Meteorological Operational Satellite (Metop) satellites, jointly developed with ESA. Three Metop satellites are foreseen for at least 14 years of operation from 2006 onward and will support operational meteorology and climate monitoring.

The Metop Programme includes the development of some instruments, such as the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment, Advanced Scatterometer, and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Receiver for Atmospheric Sounding, which are advanced instruments of recent successful research missions. Core components of the Metop payload, common with the payload on the U.S. satellites, are the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and the Advanced Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (ATOVS) package, composed of the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS), Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit A (AMSU-A), and Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS). They provide continuity to the NOAA-K, -L, -M satellite series (in orbit known as NOAA-15, -16 and -17). MHS is a EUMETSAT development and replaces the AMSU-B instrument in the ATOVS suite. The Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) instrument, developed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, provides hyperspectral resolution infrared sounding capabilities and represents new technology in operational satellite remote sensing.

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EUMETSAT, Darmstadt, Germany

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland