To measure rising sea levels, an important consequence of global warming precisely billion dollar NASA-first of the two satellites of the European project, a SpaceX Falcon’s entry into orbit from California on Saturday over the 9 rocket.
By timing how long it takes radar beams penetrating the cloud to bounce back 830 miles below the ocean, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite can track sea levels to less than half an inch to help scientists map their ongoing impact on a global scale. warm-up for long periods.
Laboratory project scientist at the NASA Jet Drive Josh Willis, of NASA’s Earth Science Division’s named after the late director “of this satellite is so beautiful that we’ve built it twice,” he said. “Five years from now, we will launch the successor Sentinel-6B.”
“This is a huge deal for us climate scientists, because it means we have to look at the oceans with a continuous record for a full 10 years,” he said. “And it’s the first time we’ve been able to build two in a row, so we can start them back to back and move the record far further than we’ve ever been able to do.”
The satellite’s Falcon 9 rocket came to life at 12:17 p.m. and launched from the 4-East launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles, climbing south towards an orbit with a 66-degree incline to the equator.
This was the California rocket manufacturer’s 22nd Falcon 9 flight so far this year, and its 103rd flight in total, including three three-core Falcon Heavy boosters. This was the first Falcon 9 launch by Vandenber since June 2019.
After going through the dense lower atmosphere, the first stage fell, turned over, and returned to a landing near the launch pad itself for the fourth stage of SpaceX in California, the 66th successful stage recovery.
Meanwhile, the second stage performed two engine firings to place the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite in its required orbit.
Sentinel-6 satellites will continue in a decades-long effort by NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Meteorological Satellites Utilization Organization and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor sea levels over the past 30 years.
With the release of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and Sentinel-6B, these measurements will be expanded into the 2030s. The data collected so far are alarming for climate researchers.
“You can see the rate of increase actually increase,” said Willis. “So in the ’90s, sea level was rising about two millimeters a year. In the 2000s, it was more like three millimeters a year. And now it’s more like four or five millimeters a year.”
More than 90% of the heat stored in greenhouses goes to heat the world’s oceans.
“So the oceans get warmer, the water expands, about a third of that sea level rises, the rest is caused by melting glaciers and ice sheets that react to the warming environment,” said Willis. “So these tasks really give us our most important metric for measuring climate change and how it plays out on the planet.”
New satellite sea level, as well as measuring the planet, navigation using a device that measures the temperature in the lower atmosphere atmospheric effects on the transmitted signal by the satellite, and also to monitor the humidity and high altitude stratosphere.
But the primary task is to monitor sea levels in 90 percent of the world’s oceans.
“The dynamic equilibrium that continued before the industrial revolution was disrupted by the almost instantaneous burning of huge carbon reserves as our society developed,” said Craig Donlon, project scientist at the European Space Agency.
“We see evidence of this dramatic change in many different measurements… but they all point in the same direction: the Earth is warming up. And the biggest indicator of this Earth system imbalance is sea level rise.”