The first of two satellites in a $ 1 billion NASA-European project to accurately measure rising sea levels, the main result of global warming, went into orbit on Saturday on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Through time, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich satellite can monitor sea levels with an accuracy of less than half an inch, depending on how long it takes cloud-permeable radar beams to jump from sea below 830 miles. Warming in prolonged periods.
Named after the late director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, Josh Willis, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, “The satellite we built twice is amazing.” “We have been launching its successor Sentinel-6B for five years now.”
“This is a big deal for us as far as climate scientists are concerned because it means we have to look at the record of not seeing the oceans for a full 10 years,” he said. “We were able to create two in a row for the first time, so we could start them back again and extend the record much longer than we have ever been able to.”
The satellite’s Falcon 9 rocket roared alive at 12:17 pm, fired from the launch complex 4-east of the Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles, and climbed south to a 66 degree inclined equator.
It is the 22nd Falcon 9 aircraft of the California Rocket Builder so far this year, and it is the 103rd overall aircraft, including three triple core Falcon heavy boosters. This is the first Balkan 9 release from Wandenberg since June 2019.
After being powered by a dense low atmosphere, the first stage fell, flipped over, and returned to a landing near the launch pad to trigger SpaceX’s 66th successful stage recovery.
The second phase, meanwhile, involved two engine tests to put the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich satellite in its desired orbit.
The Sentinel-6 satellites will continue the decades-long effort of NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Organization for Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor sea levels over the past 30 years.
With the introduction of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich and the Sentinel-6B, those measurements will be extended to the 2030s. The data collected so far are dangerous to climate researchers.
“You can see the rate of increase is really increasing,” Willis said. “So in the 90s, the sea level was rising at two millimeters a year. In the 2000s, it was like three millimeters a year. Now it’s close to four or five millimeters a year.”
More than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouses is warming the world’s oceans.
“So the oceans are warming, the water is expanding, which is about a third of the sea level rise, and the rest is reacting to the warming environment from the melting of glaciers and glaciers,” Willis said. “So these missions really give us our most important criterion for measuring climate change, and how it works on the planet.”
In addition to measuring the sea levels around the planet, the new satellite will monitor temperature and humidity in the lower atmosphere, as well as the upper stratosphere, using an instrument that measures atmospheric effects in signals transmitted by navigation satellites.
But the primary goal is to monitor sea levels in 90 percent of the world’s oceans.
“The dynamic balance that prevailed before the Industrial Revolution has upset our society as it has grown, with the immediate burning of huge reserves of carbon,” said European Space Agency project scientist Craig Donlon.
“We see evidence for this dramatic change in many measurements … but they all point in the same direction: the Earth is warming. And the biggest indicator of the imbalance of this Earth system is sea level rise.”