The new European and American marine monitoring satellite Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich has begun to make ultra-precise measurements of the Earth’s sea level rise during a six-month test period.
As the global climate changes, the oceans on Earth are warming and rising. To monitor the waters, scientists have been relying on the eyes in the sky for three decades: satellites that closely track the behavior of the oceans around the world. The latest satellite of its kind, Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich, has just started sending data. Spacecraft
, named after the late NASA climate scientist Michael Freilich, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November last year. Over time, Sentinel 6 will be able to provide scientists with more accurate ocean surface data than its predecessors, accurate to just a few centimeters. Thus, it will allow meteorologists to better track weather patterns, such as first-born hurricanes, and accurately monitor temperature and sea level rise.
Currently, your mission has just begun. Josh Willis, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said in a statement: “Knowing that the satellite is working and that the data looks good is a relief.” “A few months later, Sentinel6 Michael Freilich will succeed his predecessor, Jason3. This data release is the first step in the process.”
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Sentinel6 is the latest launch of a series of proud ocean observation satellites that started using TOPEX / Poseidon in 1992. This allows scientists to observe ocean processes on a global scale for the first time at a fixed frequency. The Jason series followed closely: three satellites were launched in 2001, 2008, and 2016. Jason 3, the last of them, is still trying to measure sea level and help meteorologists.
Sentinel6 is part of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Observation Program and now follows Jason3 for 30 seconds on an orbit of 830 miles (1,336 kilometers). These two satellites regularly scan 90% of the world’s oceans. The scientists then compare the data from the two satellites to make sure the Sentinel 6 is up to the task before taking over Jason 3 as the main sea-level monitoring ship. The
Sentinel6’s main improvement over its predecessor is its advanced altimeter, called the Poseidon4. Based on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology, Poseidon 4 can perform more accurate measurements than traditional radar altimeters because it can analyze the Doppler effect of radar signals as they bounce off the sea and return to the spacecraft. (The Doppler effect is the change in frequency of the signal emitted by the moving source as it moves closer and farther from the receiver.)
“To confidently manage the transition from Jason’s low resolution measurement3 to Sentinel6’s high resolution product, Poseidon4 Altimeter Get traditional low resolution measurements and high resolution synthetic aperture radar measurements at the same time,” said Craig Donlon , ESA Sentinel6 mission scientist, in a statement from the European Space Agency. “We are very pleased to see that the Sentinel 6 data shows excellent performance based on the verification of independent ground measurements.
Two Sentinel 6 data streams are now available to the global weather forecasting community, providing sea level information with an accuracy of 2.3. Inches (5.8 cm) and 1.4 inches (3.5 cm). The first data stream is available immediately after acquisition. The second one was released two days later after further processing. NASA and ESA said in a statement that they will provide climate researchers with a more accurate data set, accurate to within 1.2 inches (2.9 centimeters), later this year.
In addition to NASA and ESA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the French National Space Research Center also contributed to this mission. The spacecraft is operated by the European Meteorological Satellite Development Organization (EUMETSAT) in Darmstadt, Germany.
Sentinel6 won’t be the last of its kind. A twin satellite, Sentinel6B, is planned to launch in 2025. The two Sentinel6 satellites will ensure that scientists continue to receive the most accurate data on sea level during the fourth decade of satellite measurements.
As climate change accelerates global sea level rise, these data are particularly important. Scientists have watched this trend for the past three decades and concerns will continue.
NASA said in a statement that due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the heat absorbed by the land. As water warms, its volume expands, causing sea level to rise. As the land warmed, the melted ice sheet increased further in height. As a result, many low-lying coastal areas in the world have already faced frequent flooding and some areas may become uninhabitable in the future. The Sentinel6 duo will help scientists better predict the future development of waiting communities in high-risk areas.
“This initial data indicates that Sentinel6 Michael Freilich is an amazing new tool that will help improve ocean and weather forecasting,” said Eric Leuliette, project and project scientist for the Maryland National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “In a changing climate, it is a great achievement that these data are ready for release.

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