The first of two satellites in a ਅਰ 1 billion NASA-European project to accurately measure rising sea levels, a major consequence of global warming, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landed in Bit Rabbit from California on Saturday.
Given the time it takes for a cloud-penetrating radar beam to descend 830 miles below sea level, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freelich is less than half an inch to help satellite scientists chart the effects of global warming. Accuracy can track warming at extended periods.
Named after the late director of NASA’s Department of Earth Sciences, “This satellite is so good that we built it twice,” said Josh Willis, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Five years from now, we will be launching its successor, the Sentinel-6B.”
“It’s a big deal for us climate scientists, because it means we have to look at the oceans in an unbreakable record for a full 10 years,” he said. “And this is the first time we’ve managed to make two in a row so we can start them back to back and extend the record far beyond what we’ve been able to do so far.”
The satellite’s Falcon 9 rocket survived at 12:17 p.m., descended from the launch complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base in northwest Los Angeles, tilted 66 degrees toward the south, one bit towards Rabbit.
This was the California rocket maker’s 22nd Falcon 9 flight so far this year and the 103rd overall flight, including three triple-core Falcon heavy boosters. It was the first Falcon 9 launch from Vandenber since June 2019.
After gaining power in the dense underwater environment, the first stage fell, flipped around, and landed near the launch pad to bite into SpaceX’s 66th successful stage recovery, the fourth in California.
The second phase, meanwhile, fired two engines to insert the Sentinel-6 Michael Freich satellite into its desired coil.
The Sentinel-6 satellite has been the subject of decades-long efforts by NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Organization for Meteorological Satellite Exploitation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor sea levels over the past 30 years.
With the inauguration of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and the Sentinel-6B, those measurements will be extended to the 2030s. And the data collected so far is worrying for weather researchers.
“You can see the rate is actually increasing,” Willis said. “So in the 90’s, sea levels were rising at two millimeters a year. In the 2000s, it was like three millimeters a year. And now it’s like four or five millimeters a year.”
More than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouses goes into warming the world’s oceans.
“So the oceans are warm, the water expands, that’s about a third of the sea level rise, the rest of the glaciers and ice sheets are melting and reacting to the warmer atmosphere,” Willis said. “So these missions provide our most important yardstick for measuring climate change and how we are playing on Earth.”
In addition to measuring sea level around the planet, the new satellite will monitor temperature and humidity in the lower atmosphere as well as the high-altitude stratosphere using a device that measures the atmospheric effect on signals transmitted by navigation satellites. .
But the primary mission is monitoring sea levels in 90 percent of the world’s oceans.
“The dynamic balance released before the Industrial Revolution has been disturbed by the almost immediate burning of huge reserves of carbon,” said Craig Donlon, a project scientist at the European Space Agency.
“We see evidence of this dramatic change in many different dimensions … but they all point in the same direction: the earth is warming. And the biggest sign of an earth system imbalance is rising sea levels. . “