From 18 to 20 October, 65 French, European and Chinese scientists came together for the 5th CFOSat (China-France Oceanography Satellite) science seminar in Beijing. CFOSat is set by the start of 2019 to bring the scientific community unique data on wave height, period and direction, and on wind speed and direction. These data will constitute a scientific first, yielding new insights into the atmosphere-ocean interface. The seminar marked a key milestone paving the way for calibration and validation of data for the operational applications and scientific investigations that will be made possible by this satellite. CFOSat is the first concrete result of space cooperation between CNES and the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Launched in 2007, this project materializes bilateral efforts to employ satellite data for environmental purposes, sealed by the agreement that the two space agencies signed on the sidelines of the COP21 in Paris in 2015.
CFOSat data will enable scientists to model atmosphere-ocean interface phenomena, analyse the role of waves and study the properties of sea and polar ice. They will prove vital to gaining a deeper understanding of how the ocean works and its role in curbing climate change. The satellite is also set to deliver precious information for marine weather forecasting. In August, CNES delivered the Surface Waves Investigation and Monitoring (SWIM) radar instrument and the FXBS science telemetry system to its Chinese partner DFHSat (Dong Fang Hong Satellite). They will be on the satellite alongside the SCAT wind scatterometer instrument designed by CNSA. CNES and DFHSat teams are working together at the Huairou facility on the final integration phase. A Chinese Long March launcher will place the satellite into low-Earth orbit for a three-year mission in the second half of 2018.
France and China are leading innovation and combining their technology efforts to serve the cause of protecting the environment. More than 3,000 research scientists in both countries are working together through 60 French-Chinese research structures, five of which are focused on environmental science. Major joint projects are also underway in the fields of sustainable development, biodiversity protection and exploitation, water resource management and energy. The two nations are working to curb climate change through their development policies (in China with the drive towards an ‘ecological civilization’ and in France with the ‘energy transition for green growth’ law and climate plan), international climate negotiations (to apply the Paris Agreement and with the project to establish a global environment pact) and bilateral cooperation (sustainable cities, projects being conducted in China by French development agency AFD, France-China environment month and green finance).
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