BD to link S’Korean satellite for more accurate forecast

In a bid to deliver more accurate weather forecast, Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) is going to set up link with South Korea’s geostationary satellite ‘Geo-KOMPSAT 2A’. BMD is going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea’s geostationary satellite ‘Geo-KOMPSAT 2A’ in this regard soon. Processing is under way to get the service of the Korean satellite from June this year, sources said.

Meteorological Department officials said the proposed satellite link can provide more accurate data and images on region-based rain, wind, cyclone and storm surge in the Bay of Bengal and the radiation of Sun. Currently, data from Himawari, a Japanese weather satellite, and FengYang-2, a Chinese satellite and RADAR system, being used to forecast the country's weather.

The data of the 43 Auto Weather Stations (AWS) are also being used to make forecasts in the country. But the Government has decided to link with South Korea's ‘Geo-KOMPSAT 2A’ satellite to develop a modern forecast system, sources said. According to meteorologist Dr Abdul Mannan, after exchanging a series of specialist level visits, the agreement between Bangladesh and South Korea might be signed in the coming February.

“The South Korean satellite, with which Bangladesh is going to be connected, is more modern and capable of providing required data than previous satellites the country are now connected,” he added. Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone areas in the world. Most of these disasters are meteorological and hydro logical in nature. Such as cyclone and associated storm surge, Nor’westers/tornadoes, drought, flood and river erosion, heat waves and cold waves, earthquakes and land slide. About 68 percent of the country is vulnerable to flood and 20 to 25% of the area is inundated during normal flood.

The Geo-KOMPSAT-2A geostationary meteorological satellite managed by the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) began operation on 25 July 2019, continuing the Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite (COMS) mission of strengthening Korea’s capability to monitor the atmospheric environment over the Asia-Pacific region.

The location of the ‘Himawari’ satellite in Japan is 140 degree east and Geo-KOMPSAT 2A’s location is closer to Bangladesh, 120 degree east. Due to the relatively low distance, it is possible to obtain more accurate data. With the help of these data, ideas about the climate of the Bay of Bengal can be found more clearly, which is very important for Bangladesh, BMD sources said.

“At the same time, it will be possible to know more than 20 such things that are applicable to Bangladesh, including the temperature of the clouds and the radiation of the sun,” said meteorologist Abul Kalam Mallick. “Geo Kamp Sat 2A can produce more than 50 various data on weather, but all are not necessary for us, He added.

BMD officials said though data and images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of USA is more effective and updated but it is not enough for Bangladesh as it is getting only two times in a day. Data receiving from Indian satellite has been stopped recently.

A number of system infrastructures will be needed to receive data from Korean satellite. At the same time, manpower will also have to be trained. BMD is responsible to provide weather forecasts for public, farmers, mariners, and aviators on routine basis and also to issue warnings for severe weather phenomena such as tropical cyclones, tornadoes, nor’westers, heavy rainfall etc. to observe different meteorological parameters both for surface and upper air all over Bangladesh round the clock.

Currently, Bangladesh requires weather data based on the the Bay of Bengal and small areas. It will be possible to get those information through the Korean satellite. BMD officials also confirmed that in spite of getting linked to a new Korean satellite, links to earlier sources for weather data will also be continued.