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Southern Hemisphere observations carried out by the Himawari No. 5 weather satellite will be slashed by two-thirds, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Its observations of some areas south of New Zealand will be terminated, the agency added.

The agency revealed Thursday that the decision is aimed at prolonging the life of the satellite, which was scheduled to be decommissioned in March last year but remains operative because of the failure to launch its successor — the Multifunctional Transport Satellite — in 1999.

The reduction in observations, which will begin Tuesday, will not affect domestic weather forecasting services, the agency said.

But the decision may affect weather monitoring in those countries in the Southern Hemisphere that use Himawari data, including Australia, it said.

The Himawari’s monitoring coverage ranges from East Asia through Australia, according to the agency.

The process of reducing the Southern Hemisphere coverage of the Himawari No. 5 began last June.

As a result of the latest reductions, the satellite will now only take photographs in the Southern Hemisphere once every three hours. Himawari currently takes satellite photos of both hemispheres on an hourly basis.

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