The three way partnership between NASA and the European House Company launched from Vandenberg Air Pressure Base in California on November 21 at 12:17 p.m. ET.
The Falcon 9’s first stage returned for a vertical touchdown on Earth.
As soon as in orbit, the pickup truck-size satellite tv for pc will observe international sea stage for the subsequent 5 and a half years.
For 30 years, satellites have helped monitor Earth’s sea stage. This satellite tv for pc is the most recent in that sequence, however it would accumulate probably the most correct knowledge but on the worldwide sea stage and the way it shifts in response to local weather change.
Sentinel-6 has the next decision for amassing measurements, which implies that it might observe each massive options, just like the Gulf Stream, in addition to smaller options akin to shoreline variations.
The satellite tv for pc will collect knowledge that can be utilized to enhance climate forecasting, hurricane monitoring and local weather fashions, like humidity and atmospheric temperature. Scientists also can use the information to forecast areas the place coastlines might shift.
This can be a two-pronged mission and the satellite tv for pc has a twin, Sentinel-6B, which is able to launch in 2025. Collectively, the dual satellites will carry the custom of steady monitoring of sea stage rise right into a fourth decade.
“This mission is a world partnership required to review our planet as a result of it belongs to all of us,” mentioned Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, throughout a press convention Friday.
“To grasp what local weather change means for humanity, science must take an extended view. This mission is a comply with up of 30 years of uninterrupted measurements by spacecraft which have circled the Earth. We’ll have one other decade of important measurements from that perspective. We do that collectively as a world neighborhood and that makes us stronger.”
A legacy of learning our planet
The mission was renamed earlier this 12 months for the late Michael Freilich, oceanographer and the director of NASA’s Earth Science Division from 2006 to 2019. Freilich died in August. The satellite tv for pc was named in his honor to recollect Freilich’s contributions to Earth science and satellite tv for pc oceanography and for advancing space-based ocean measurements.
In the course of the Friday press convention, Zurbuchen reminded everybody of Freilich’s phrases and perspective on the significance of learning the Earth from house.
“Humanity, not one company, not one nation, not one continent, however … humanity has been monitoring international sea stage from house with beautiful accuracy for greater than 28 years.”
Sentinel-6 follows within the footsteps of Jason-3, a satellite tv for pc that launched in 2016. It is presently nonetheless offering observations of the worldwide ocean’s topography.
An overlap in satellites permits the mission groups to verify they obtain steady knowledge earlier than the earlier mission ends.
After launch, Sentinel-6 will fly 30 seconds behind Jason-3. The workforce will cross calibrate the information of each satellites over the subsequent 12 months earlier than Jason-3’s mission ends.
This lengthy custom of sea level-monitoring satellites started with the unique Jason sequence missions and its predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon, which launched in 2001 and 1992, respectively.
It is a part of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth statement program. This program maintains correct knowledge for the ocean stage top for greater than 90% of Earth’s ocean. The information collected by this chain of satellites has contributed to local weather research, marine meteorology and oceanography.
Eyes on the ocean
The long-term uninterrupted monitoring of worldwide sea stage is essential to understanding how our planet is responding to international warming and local weather change. And when the worldwide sea stage rises, it is a clear indicator of worldwide warming, in line with local weather specialists.
Understanding the worldwide sea stage can assist scientists observe ocean currents as they switch warmth throughout the planet. This ripple impact can affect our climate.
Coastlines additionally shift in response to local weather change-driven sea stage rise. Because the planet warms, the ocean absorbs warmth trapped by greenhouse gases, inflicting a few of the growth behind sea stage rise. Melting glaciers and ice sheets account for almost all of the shift.
The speed of sea stage rise has elevated over the past 25 years, and it’ll proceed to sooner or later. It is an vital issue to trace as a result of coastal flooding attributable to storms can reshape populated areas.
Freilich acknowledged that Earth’s rising sea stage would require cooperation from folks world wide to grasp and resolve.
The company created the Sea Stage Change Science Group in 2014 to unite folks throughout NASA and from different establishments to review glaciers, ice sheets, the ocean and land motion to get the most effective image of the impacts of rising sea stage.
“We’re united by this massive purpose,” mentioned Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer, the NASA program supervisor who oversees the workforce, in a press release. “Sea stage is impacted by these various factors that one self-discipline does not cowl — so we have to usher in specialists to method it from all angles.”
However this satellite tv for pc also can contribute to a better understanding of how Earth’s local weather is shifting total, from its international ocean all the way in which to the highest of its ambiance.