Equipment on board the Franco-Indian Megha-Tropique satellite will use microwave technology to cut through clouds and examine in detail their structure and the composition of cyclones.
The satellite’s orbit will pass around the earth’s equator, and not the two poles, which means it will be able to complete around six circuits of the globe per day instead of an average of two by other satellites.
Remy Roca, the scientist in charge of the mission, says Megha-Tropique will provide information on the impact solar ‘energy levels’ in the Tropics have on the world’s weather system.
“If different climate models agree that by the end of the 21st century, rain levels will rise around the equator and polar regions and fall in tropical zones, they diverge over the effect at a local level,” he says. “Some say harvests will increase in West Africa and India, while other say they will decrease.”
Megha-Tropiques will also observe other climate phenomena including greenhouse gases, and the life-cycle of tropical storms.