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Wednesday Jul 22 2020

China’s meteorological satellites to help Pakistan combat locust attacks

Locust swarms ravaged crops and pastureland destroyed food and vegetation and jeopardised food security across Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of South Asia. Photo:

Sources from China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Wednesday said that the data provided by China’s meteorological satellites can be used to monitor Pakistan’s desert locusts and can provide early warnings to relevant parties.

According to the sources, CMA has already released special reports on remote sensing data of locust attacks in Pakistan.

“China’s Fengyun series satellites can generate information for analysis of locust-affected area by monitoring rainfall, soil moisture and land surface temperature (LST) changes of the African and South Asian countries,” CMA noted, explaining that a hotter and wetter climate favours more multiplication of locusts, and studies have also linked wind direction, speed, and other weather parameters to the migration of locusts.

According to an update issued by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the summer breeding of desert locust swarms has commenced in Pakistan’s Tharparkar, Nara, and Cholistan deserts where hatching and band formation will increase later this month.

On top of monitoring the breeding and movement of a locust swarm, Fengyun satellites are helpful when it comes to the assessment of vegetation damage.

Locust swarms ravaged crops and pastureland, destroyed food and vegetation, and jeopardised food security across Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of South Asia.

Fengyun-3 (FY-3) polar orbit meteorological satellite, therefore, is used to monitor how the crops are growing. With the monitoring data generated by FY-3, Pakistani scientists can offer a remote sensing-based assessment of vegetation damage in locust-invaded areas.

As per CMA, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has been using data collected from China’s CMACast, an updated satellite data broadcast system based on Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite – Second Generation (DVB-S2) with both file and multimedia transmission capability since 2006; they have regularly posted maps sensed by Fengyun-2E (FY-2E) satellite online for various disaster prevention and mitigation authorities.

Also read: Government allocates Rs26bn to fight locusts

In addition, data collected by China’s Meteorological Information Comprehensive Analysis and Process System (MICAPS) has been used by Pakistan to analyse and forecast weather for relevant institutions and the public.

China, on June 5, 2018, launched FY-2H meteorological satellite to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting and provide better meteorological services to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CMA told China Economic Net.

The number of countries using Fengyun satellite data has increased to 108 (including 75 countries involved to BRI) by May 2020, and 30 countries have established earth stations to transmit and receive information to and from Fengyun satellites.