Along with tracking sea levels, it'll also help scientists track climate patterns and improve hurricane forecasts. Scientists can also use the data to predict areas where coastlines may change.
Sentinel-6a will be the first of two identical satellites - the second to be launched in five years - that will provide measurements of unprecedented precision until at least 2030.
Together with our worldwide and interagency partners, we're monitoring the causes of sea level rise with high accuracy and precision.
"There are things worse than being trapped on the California coast", Tim Dunn, launch director for NASA's Launch Services Program, said during Friday's press conference, jokingly.
"What is very important is to be able to look at the developments to see if certain disruptive scenarios of climate change that are underway, in the Arctic in particular, will materialize". This mission is to follow 30 years of continuous measurements by spacecraft that orbit Earth. "It is good to meet with the team, and to know the importance of what we are doing", he said.
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Named for a former NASA official who had a key role in developing space-based oceanography, the satellite's main instrument is an extremely accurate radar altimeter that will bounce energy off the sea surface as it sweeps over Earth's oceans.
Freilich was instrumental in advancing efforts to monitor Earth's oceans from space.
When Sentinel-6 completes its one-year charging period, anybody around the globe - including teachers, understudies and different individuals from general society - can download the crude information from the site of the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
"Global warming is really ocean warming", Willis said. Credit: ESA-S. Corvaja Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich safely tucked up in the Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. That's 30 per cent more than when NASA launched its first satellite mission to measure ocean heights in 1992. Even worse, he added, for every centimeter of sea level rise, up to three million other people around the world are exposed to flood risks.
Accelerating sea level rise is arguably the climate change impact that will affect the largest number of people over the next three decades. This multiplier effect could affect our weather. Sentinel-1 is providing radar imaging measurements of ocean swell waves, of sea ice. Melting glaciers and ice sheets account for the majority of the transformation.
More recently, that rate has increased to 5 mm per year. It is an important factor to track as coastal flooding caused by storms can reshape populated areas.
Aschbacher said measurements dating back to the 1990s show average sea levels rising first by about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year, but in the past couple of years the annual rate was nearly 5 millimeters (0.2 inches).
"It's a critical observation for a number of reasons, but its power is really unleashed when we combine our altimetry observations of the sea surface height measurements with the observations we get from the other satellites in the NASA fleet and the global fleet", she continued.