With earth's climate changing at a rapid rate, American and European agencies are planning to launch a decade long satellite mission in order to continue analysing the most prominent sign of global warming i.e rising sea levels. According to reports, the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission will be the longest ever mission to find out how much the sea levels will rise by the year 2030.
The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission will add more information to 40 years worth of sea level data by 2030 and provide answers to how human beings are responsible for hampering and changing the earth's climate and the earth itself. The earth mission will have two identical satellites codenamed Sentinel-6A and Sentinel-6B, launching 5 apart. The Sentinel-6A spacecraft is undergoing the necessary preparations for a launch in November 2020 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force station in the state of California.
The current earth mission will analyse and study rising sea levels alongside climate changes such as La Niña and El Niño, changes in ocean circulation and weather phenomena including storms and hurricanes. The mission will be assessing how much sea levels have risen during the 2020s and how fast the rise in sea levels has accelerated in these times.
Other than measuring rising sea levels, the mission will also provide data that may help with weather predictions, study changes in the atmospheric temperature and will also collect high-resolution vertical outlines of temperature and humidity. The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission will collect global ocean data every 10 days, giving its view on events such as El Niño. With its high-resolution tools, the mission will be able to furnish data regarding complex currents that will be an advantage for fishing and navigation communities.
The earth mission is being developed by NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), EUMETSAT (Exploitation of Meteorological Satellite) and the ESA (European Space Agency) with financial support from CNES (Centre for Space Studies) and the European Commission. NASA will be providing science instrument payloads for the two satellites being used in the mission, launch services alongside support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team and ground systems supporting the science instruments operations.
One of the scientists working on the mission, Josh Willis, said that a rise in global sea levels is the most accurate way of how human beings are playing a role in changing the climate. He further added that a rise in sea levels means that 70% of the planet is changing and that is what they measuring and dealing with.
According to reports, the oceans have a very crucial role in providing stability to earth's climate by absorbing approximately 90% of the heat trapped on earth due to greenhouse gases such as CO2. As the oceans are warming up at an unprecedented rate, the water levels are also increasing as the trapped heat is causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt at a rapid rate.
(With inputs from agencies)