South Korean meteorologists are the latest around the world to reap the forecasting benefits of the most advanced weather-imaging technology ever made.

The GEO-KOMPSAT-2A weather satellite is now operational and sending high-quality images and data generated by the L3Harris-made Advanced Meteorological Instrument, or AMI. It is the fifth advanced imager to be deployed on orbit and the third in Asia, expanding the benefits of more-detailed weather data in the region.

The satellite is a dramatic leap over its predecessor GEO-KOMPSAT-1, South Korea’s first weather satellite. In addition to providing color versus black-and-white images, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A provides data on three times the channels in higher resolution at greater speed. This is greatly enhancing South Korea’s ability to monitor and forecast weather in the region.

AMI is the South Korean variant of the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, used on the U.S. GOES-R Series of weather satellites. GOES-East monitors the Atlantic Ocean and much of South and North America, while GOES-West overlaps on North America while covering from Alaska to near New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. Additional ABI instruments are included on two more satellites in the GOES-R Series, one an on-orbit spare and the other a backup spacecraft that will remain on Earth unless needed. 

Japan has two imagers, referred to as Advanced Himawari Imagers, on orbit on the Himawari-8 and -9 satellites, meaning L3Harris technology is on five operational spacecraft monitoring weather over much of the Earth’s surface.

That monitoring has seldom been more important, with active storm seasons in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in recent years and notable weather events occurring around the world.

These imagers’ advanced capabilities give weather data faster and with more detail, allowing authorities to provide better guidance to national weather services and, ultimately, their populations. When severe weather threatens, this enhanced data keeps people safe and can make a difference in avoiding personal catastrophe.

For example, weather forecasts provided five days in advance today are as accurate as those done one day in advance 40 years ago. This translates directly to information people can use to make vital choices in the case of severe weather, including hurricane forecasts, that allow days for decision making rather than hours.

With GEO-KOMPSAT-2A in Korea and the pair of Himawari imagers in Japan, the benefits of these advanced technologies are continuing to spread around the globe. Planning for the next generation of weather forecasting infrastructure is underway, and L3Harris is evolving its sensor and ground technologies to provide even more advanced data. That includes more detail more frequently, processed faster than ever before, with the goal of improving forecasts and aiding better decision making.