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Joint European-US Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission will benefit weather forecasting and climate change monitoring and adaptation efforts

By Eric Van Rees - 22nd June 2021 - 05:14

Sea level variations across the northern Atlantic Ocean as measured from satellite altimetry for 13 June 2021.

Strong negative (blue) and positive (red) anomalies are associated with the Gulf Stream. Along-track data from current altimetry missions is laid over an image of modelled sea level variations from a long-term mean, as produced by the Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) for the same day. The overlaid tracks reflect the measurements by the Copernicus altimeter constellation, where the new data from Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is highlighted in yellow. The latter currently flies just 30 seconds behind Jason-3. Acronyms for the missions are as follows: S6MF = Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, S3A/B = Sentinel-3A/B, J3 = Jason-3 (data not shown due to tandem phase with S6MF).

Monitoring of the Earth’s oceans to measure sea level rise, a key indicator of climate change, and to improve ocean and weather forecasting enters a new era tomorrow.
The unique, joint European-US Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission will enter its “operational” phase, meaning some data products from its instruments on board will be released to users – weather forecasters, climate researchers and others – after intensive calibration and validation activities to ensure accuracy. The satellite measures ocean height to within 3cm from an altitude of 1,336km.

The Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched from California, in the United States, on 21 November 2020. It is the first of a new generation of ocean-altimetry satellites that will continue the unbroken, highly accurate record of measurements of the ocean’s surface stretching back to 1992.

Read More: Satellite Imaging Environmental Management

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