What is the purpose of Sentinel-6 satellite and how it will monitor oceans

By: |
November 23, 2020 12:21 PM

Named as Jason Continuity of Service (Jason CS) mission, the purpose of the Sentinel-6 satellite is to find out how the earth’s climate is changing by measuring the changed elevation of the ocean.

sentinel-6, Jason CS mission, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite , Falcon-9 rocket, NASA, ESA, Mission to study climate changeCMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum. Representative Image

Space-X’s Falcon -9 launch vehicle is shouldering, NASA’s ambitious project to monitor change in global sea level and for that purpose, the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched from Calfornia’s Vanderberg Air Force Base aboard the rocket on November 21.

The satellite, Sentinel 6 has been named after NASA’s Earth Science Division Director, Dr Michael Freilich who passed away last year in August.

What is the space mission all about

Named as Jason Continuity of Service (Jason CS) mission, the purpose is to find out how the earth’s climate is changing by measuring the changed elevation of the ocean. The spacecraft launched by Flacon 9 has another part, Sentinel -6B that will be set in motion in space in 2025.

The Jason CS mission is joint collaboration of several space organisations apart from NASA like the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), EU, European Space Agency (ESA) and USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and with contribution from France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

Sentinel -6, however, is not the first spacecraft made to monitor oceans. Jason 1, TOPEX/Poseidon, OSTN/Jason-2 are other missions launched since 1992 to track the change in oceans on a global scale.

What is the function of the Sentinel -6 mission?

The purpose of the mission to ensure that there is a continuity in sea-level observation in the fourth decade since it started in 1922 and provide measurements of its level rise from climate change. The satellite will send signals to the Earth’s surface and will estimate the sea level elevation by taking into account the time taken for the signals to return. The satellite pulses will also measure water vapour in its path to the sea and find its position using ground-level lasers and GPS.

During other ocean monitoring mission, high-precision satellite altimeters helped understand the scientists about the ocean’s role in distributing water, heat and carbon in the atmosphere. The data collected through Sentinel-6 will help in providing forecasts about wind conditions and ocean currents which in turn helps both in long term forecasting of oceanic conditions like El-Nino and La-Nina and short-term weather forecasting.

How measuring the height of the ocean will help

The height of oceans can be measures at a global scale and its critical changes can be monitored only from space says NASA. Hence with Sentil-6 data effects of the changing oceans on the climate, changing ocean currents and its heat storage and distribution can be found out.

Sentinel-6 can keep up in the air with much-improved capability helping it to monitor seas right up against coastlines better. The satellite data can also find out and how inland water bodies like lakes and rivers have changed.

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