Meteorological Satellite Center (MSC)

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Dissemination via communication satellite: the HimawariCast service





News

  • Switchover of communication satellite from JCSAT-2A to JCSAT-2B is planned in the transition period from 03:00 UTC on 6 July to 03:00 UTC on 20 July. In this period, HimawariCast user should complete transition work. (18 May 2016)New!
  • Update for Specifications of receiving equipment with upgrade of data receiving software (Kencast Fazzt Professional Client). (18 May 2016)New!
  • JCSAT-2A communications will be affected by sun interference during the 2015 spring equinox season. See Sun interference. (10 February 2016)
  • Change reference LNBs according to Japanese page. (6 January 2016)
  • The communication satellite switchover from JCSAT-2A to JCSAT-2B originally scheduled for Q4 of 2015 has been postponed for around six months. (11 September 2015)
  • JCSAT-2A communications will be affected by sun interference during the 2015 autumn equinox season. See Sun interference. (11 August 2015)
  • JMA will begin Himawari-8 imagery dissemination via the HimawariCast service at 02:00 UTC on 1 July 2015 before Himawari-8 officially enters operation on 7 July. See Schedule. (24 June 2015) Himawari-8 imagery dissemination is rescheduled to begin at 02 UTC on 3 July. (2 July 2015)
  • In addition to 14 bands of Himawari-8 imagery, JMA will disseminate 1 band of high-spatial-resolution and high-bit-rate Himawari-8 infrared imagery at night. See Dataset. (24 June 2015)
  • JMA has released SATAID software for Himawari-8 multi-band imagery. See Software for processing and displaying received data. (24 June 2015)
  • JMA plans test dissemination of Himawari-8 imagery via the HimawariCast service. (12 March 2015)
  • JCSAT-2A communications will be affected by sun interference during the 2015 spring equinox season. See Sun interference. (23 February 2015)
  • MTSAT-2 imagery dissemination via the HimawariCast service began at 03:00 UTC on 29 January 2015. The service may be suspended without notice until Himawari-8 becomes operational. (29 January 2015)
  • JMA plans to disseminate Himawari-8 imagery via the HimawariCast service from mid-2015. The originally announced number of satellite bands to be disseminated will be increased. See Dataset. (29 January 2015)
  • JMA has released software to convert HRIT files into SATAID format for display on a PC. See Software for processing and displaying received data. (29 January 2015)
  • While registration is not required to use the HimawariCast service, registered users can receive service information and updates by e-mail from JMA. See Registration. (29 January 2015)

Operation Information

Weekly operation schedule (MANAM)


Sun interference

The sun passes behind the JCSAT-2A communication satellite (C-band) as seen from its receiving station once a day during the equinox season. When this happens, radiation from the sun can cause loss or degradation of communications between the satellite and the receiving station. This phenomenon is referred to as sun interference, and can adversely affect or interrupt transmission.
See Sun Interference Prediction (external link) for details.


Introduction

MTSAT-2 imagery was provided directly via MTSAT-1R through the L-band frequency High-Rate Information Transmission (HRIT) and Low-Rate Information Transmission (LRIT) services. JMA terminated these services on 4 December 2015. As a replacement of these services, JMA started the HimawariCast service which disseminates primary sets of imagery via a communication satellite from January 2015.

The interval between full-disk observations by Himawari-8 is 10 minutes, which is much shorter than the 30/60 minutes of the MTSAT series. The HimawariCast service provides full-disk imagery with this high 10-minute observation frequency.


Schedule

Figure 1 shows the schedule for transition from MTSAT HRIT/LRIT services to the HimawariCast service.

JMA successfully launched Himawari-8 in October 2014 and switched over operations from MTSAT-2 at 02:00 UTC on 7 July 2015. Himawari-8 imagery dissemination began at 02:00 UTC on 3 July 2015 before the satellite officially became operational.

The JCSAT-2A communication satellite located at 154 degrees east is used to broadcast data for the HimawariCast service. The JCSAT-2B unit will then take over from JCSAT-2A as the communication satellite at the same location. HimawariCast users need to prepare for the transition from JCSAT-2A to JCSAT-2B during a dual operation period (approx. 2 weeks) of JCSAT-2A and JCSAT-2B.

The switchover from JCSAT-2A to JCSAT-2B is scheduled from 03:00 UTC on 6 July to 03:00 UTC on 20 July 2016.

Schedule for transition to the HimawariCast service
Figure 1: Schedule for transition to the HimawariCast service (click to enlarge)




Dataset

Table 1 shows the dataset of the HimawariCast service.

Himawari imagery in full-disk HRIT/LRIT files compatible with MTSAT HRIT/LRIT data* is provided via the service. Files are disseminated every 10 minutes in principle, but this interval will follow the MTSAT-2 observation schedule while MTSAT-2 is in operation. The number of bands of MTSAT-2 HRIT files is 5 out of 5, and that of Himawari-8 HRIT files is 14 out of 16. Additionally, 1 band of high-spatial-resolution and high-bit-rate Himawari-8 infrared imagery is disseminated at night.

In addition, numerical weather prediction (NWP) products (GPV: Grid Point Values) and meteorological observation data other than Himawari imagery in SATAID format are disseminated. Satellite Animation and Interactive Diagnosis (SATAID) visualization software for satellite imagery enables the superimposition of various meteorological data and products, such as NWP, in-situ observation data and ASCAT output, onto satellite imagery.

Please see the links for details.


Table 1: The data set disseminated via HimawariCast
Data type Format Notes
* There is a slight difference between files disseminated via the MTSAT HRIT/LRIT services and those disseminated via the HimawariCast service. The former consist of lossless-compressed raw data and related headers. The latter are made up of non-compressed raw data and related headers, and the whole files are compressed using bzip2. See the links for details (HRIT, LRIT).

** Parallel bzip2 (pbzip2) commands are used for bzip2 compression.
Himawari imagery

(full disk)
HRIT files

(Divided into 10 segments and compressed using bzip2**)

(Compatible with the MTSAT HRIT service*)
  • Interval: 10 minutes
    (MTSAT-2 observation schedule followed while MTSAT-2 is in operation)
  • Number of bands: 14
    (5 while MTSAT-2 is in operation)
  • Spatial resolution: band-dependent
  • Sample data
LRIT files

(Divided into 10 segments and compressed using bzip2**)

(Compatible with the MTSAT LRIT service*)
  • Interval: 10 minutes
    (MTSAT-2 observation schedule followed while MTSAT-2 is in operation)
  • Number of bands: 4 (VIS, IR1, IR3, IR4)
  • Spatial resolution: 5 km
  • Sample data
Numerical weather prediction products (GPV) SATAID format

(Compressed using bzip2**)
  • JMA Global Spectral Model (GSM) products (48-hour forecast)
  • Interval: 6 hours
  • Spatial resolution: 1.25 degrees
In-situ observations

(SYNOP, TEMP, SHIP)
SATAID format

(Archived using tar and compressed using bzip2**)
  • Observational data for East Asia and Western Pacific regions
  • Interval: 30 minutes
ASCAT ocean surface wind

(EUMETSAT)
SATAID format

(Archived using tar and compressed using bzip2**)
  • Observational data from EUMETSAT's Metop polar-orbiting satellites
  • Interval: 30 minutes
Operation plan

(MANAM)
Text
  • Frequency: twice a day



System structure

Figure 2 shows an overview of the HimawariCast system structure.

HimawariCast system structure
Figure 2: HimawariCast system structure (click to enlarge)



Specifications of receiving equipment

Please see this page for specification of receiving equipment


Registration

While registration is not required to use the HimawariCast service, registered users can receive service information and updates by e-mail from JMA. Users wishing to register should submit the form below by e-mail, post or fax.

Submission

    Satellite Program Division, Observation Department
    Japan Meteorological Agency
    1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan
    Tel.: +81-3-3212-8341 (ext. 4842)
    Fax: +81-3-3217-1036
    E-mail:

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