The satellite, a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, was launched in November 2020 and has been collecting raw data ever since. Once engineers were confident its instruments had been calibrated and accurate, they took over the official sea level monitoring from Jason-3 satellite launched in 2016.
We cannot lose track of sea level rise because if we do, it is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming decades,” said Josh Willis, Sentinel-6 project scientist Michael Freilich at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This satellite is the first of a pair, with its companion Sentinel-6B scheduled for launch in 2025.
Together, they will record long-term records of sea-level rise, which will provide information about the rate of global climate change.
In addition, the satellites will also monitor other factors such as looking at how water vapor and temperature vary throughout the atmosphere.
“The unprecedented accuracy of sea level measurements provided by this mission not only ensures the continuity of the 30-year data record, but also allows us to improve our understanding of climate change and the impact of sea level rise on coastal regions and communities,” said Julia Vega.
Saldana, director of the ocean altimetry program at the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMTSAT).