The first of two billion-dollar NASA-European project to accurately measure sea level, a major consequence of global warming, orbited the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from California on Saturday.
By taking cloud-penetrating radar beams to take time to jump out of the ocean below 830 miles, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich satellite can track to an accuracy of less than half an inch above sea level. Heating for a long time.
It is named after the late director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, “said Josh Willis, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Five years from now we will be introducing its successor, the Sentinel-6B.”
“This is a big deal for meteorologists because it means looking at the oceans for 10 years,” he said. “For the first time we can build two in a row so that we can launch them backwards and extend the record far beyond what we have achieved so far.”
The satellite’s Falcon 9 rocket came to life at 12:17 pm, fired from the launch pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles, and tilted 66 degrees south to the equator.
This is the California rocket maker’s 22nd Falcon 9 aircraft so far this year and the 103rd aircraft, including three triple – core Falcon heavy boosters. This is the first Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg since June 2019.
After gaining strength through the dense low atmosphere, the first stage fell down and flew itself to a landing near the launch pad, the 66th successful stage recovery of the SpaceX, the fourth stage in California.
In the second phase, Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich operated two engine furniture to bring the satellite into orbit.
The Sentinel-6 satellites will continue over a decade-long effort by NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Organization for Exploitation of Climate Satellites, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor sea level over the past 30 years.
With the launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich and the Sentinel-6B, these measurements will be extended to the 2030s. Climate researchers are alarmed by the data collected so far.
“You can see the rate of increase is actually increasing,” Willis said. “So in the 90s the sea level was rising at two millimeters per year. In the 2000s it was like three millimeters per year. Now it is close to four or five millimeters per year.”
90% of the heat trapped in the greenhouse heats the world’s oceans.
“So the oceans are warming, the water is expanding, it’s coming a third above sea level, and the rest of the glaciers and glaciers are reacting to the warmer atmosphere,” Willis said. “So these missions provide us with the most important yardstick for measuring climate change and how it works on the planet.”
In addition to measuring the sea level around the planet, the new satellite will monitor the temperature and humidity of the lower atmosphere, and the high-altitude stratosphere using a device that measures atmospheric influence on signals transmitted by navigation satellites.
The primary mission is to monitor sea level in 90% of the world’s oceans.
“As our society develops the dynamic equilibrium that existed before the Industrial Revolution, large deposits of carbon are disturbed almost instantaneously by burning,” said Craig Donlon, a European Space Agency project scientist.
“We see evidence of this dramatic change on different scales … but they all point in the same direction: the earth is warming. The biggest indicator of the imbalance of this planet is sea level rise.”
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