Sat. May 28th, 2022

Sentinel-6 returns the most accurate data ever at sea level

The Copernicus Sentinel 2 mission takes us across the Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati – a remote Pacific nation threatened by rising seas. Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

An increase in sea level is one of the most immediate consequences of climate change, as was recently highlighted through urgent prayers from leaders of island nations at the COP26 summit. Global targets for sea level rise are crucial for supporting global policies and for strategies to protect coastlines and low-lying areas. Measuring small differences in the height of the sea surface from space is no easy task – but that’s exactly what the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite does. And after a year of exhaustive testing, this new mission now delivers the world’s most accurate data on sea level rise.

Launched on November 21, 2020, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich uses the latest radar altitude technology, developed by ESA, to advance the long-term record for sea level altitude measurements that began in 1992 by the French-American Topex-Poseidon satellite and was followed by of the Jason series of satellite missions.

With the importance of monitoring sea level rise so high on the global agenda, several organizations have been involved in making Copernicus Sentinel-6 the gold standard reference emission to take the record of sea level elevation measurements into the future, and to do so with greater precision. than ever before.

So while Sentinel-6 is one of the EU’s family of Copernicus missions, its implementation is the result of an exceptional collaboration between the European Commission ESA, Eumetsat, NASA and NOAA, with the support of the French space agency CNES.

Eumetsat – the European Meteorological Satellite Organization, is responsible for the operation of the satellite and for making the data available to users.

Copernicus Sentinel-6 in action. Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2020), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The first data products, which were low-resolution products, were released in June. This was an important step in the transition to the higher resolution products released today. The data have been used for weather forecasts and seasonal forecast models and to predict the evolution and trace of hurricanes.

Sentinel-6’s Poseidon-4 Altimeter was designed to bring new high-resolution Ku-band synthetic aperture radar measurements into the altitude reference time series. It therefore provides simultaneous low-resolution measurements and high-resolution measurements. The low-resolution measurements are matched with measurements from the mission’s predecessor, Jason-3, and are therefore crucial to ensure continuity, and the enhanced high-resolution data can then be offered with absolute confidence.

To ensure that the differences between the historical low-resolution time series and the new data from Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich are fully understood, a 12-month tandem flight has taken place. This means that the Sentinel-6 flies 30 seconds behind its predecessor satellite, the Jason-3, and follows the same earth track.

After months of careful testing, the stream of Copernicus Sentinel-6 high-resolution data is now available.

Eumetsat’s sea level measurement program manager, Julia Figa Saldana, said: “Experts from around the globe have carefully examined and validated the data, confirming that the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission is robust, accurate and extremely reliable. By cross-calibrating Sentinel-6 against its predecessor Jason- 3 to within 1 mm, we ensure that the 30-year record of Mediterranean level, as captured by satellite radar altimeters, continues uninterrupted.

Credit: European Space Agency

“The data released today is crucial to monitoring the impact of climate change on Earth’s oceans.”

ESA’s Sentinel-6 missionary researcher Craig Donlon added: “Measurements of sea level rise provide a unique but integrated view of climate change as a warming sea expands and increased melting of ice on land both leads to an increase in sea level.

“Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich surely brings a new synthetic aperture radar measurement technology into the reference altimeter’s time series for the first time. This enables Sentinel-6 to deliver improved sea level and wind speed measurements, improved opportunities for river and sea hydrology applications, while maintaining stability “Estimates of sea level rise. These measurements provide evidence that is crucial to developing and implementing robust societal policies for our future.”

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-6 project manager, Pierrik Vuilleumier, noted: “The collaboration with NASA, EUMETSAT, NOAA and CNES has today borne fruit with the timely release of mission products to operational users, providing both continuity with previous reference emissions and new high-resolution synthetic apertures. radar products. The digital technology of the Poseidon-4 altimeter brings an unprecedented level of performance. “

“While Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich exceeds expectations in orbit, we are busy with its sequel, Sentinel-6B. The satellite is now at IABG’s facilities in Ottobrunn, Germany, undergoing an environmental testing campaign that runs until next March. Mid-year is set. it in stock until we prepare it for launch at the end of 2025. ”

Copernicus Sentinel-6 measures sea levels using radar altitude measurements

Provided by European Space Agency

Citation: Sentinel-6 returns the most accurate data ever at sea level (2021, November 29) retrieved November 29, 2021 from

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