A Water Cycle Observation Mission (WCOM) satellite will be launched around 2020. Image: funceme
A Water Cycle Observation Mission (WCOM) satellite will be launched around 2020, to help in forecasting hydrological events including flood and drought.
The WCOM will provide unprecedented, accurate observations through simultaneous monitoring of key water cycle elements, such as soil humidity, snow/water equivalents, surface ice and sea water salinity. It was initiated jointly by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth and the National Space Science Centre with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The CAS has completed key research and tests of the satellite's payload in anticipation of further development.
Understanding the distribution characteristics and changing patterns of the water cycle and forecasting them are frontier scientific issues for us. This year's floods in southern China are an example of how changes in water cycle have a direct impact on our lives, said Shi Jiancheng, chief scientist of WCOM.
The satellite will play an important role in flood prevention, drought relief, agriculture, water resource management as well as food and environmental security, he said.
In the future, the CAS will cooperate with U.S. and European research teams to initiate a satellite constellation based on the WCOM, aiming to form a worldwide water cycle observation network.
Plans for the WCOM satellite was announced at the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGRSS) 2016 kicked off in Beijing on July 11.