Science

Jason-3 satellite produces its first global sea surface height map

Jason-3 satellite produces its...
The map indicates that the satellite is performing well, and marks the continuation of almost a quarter of a century of ocean level monitoring
The map indicates that the satellite is performing well, and marks the continuation of almost a quarter of a century of ocean level monitoring
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The Jason-3 readings compare favorably with the Jason-2 satellite data, indicating that the probe is working as intended. Higher than normal sea levels are shown in red, while El Nino can be seen in the eastern equatorial Pacific
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The Jason-3 readings compare favorably with the Jason-2 satellite data, indicating that the probe is working as intended. Higher than normal sea levels are shown in red, while El Nino can be seen in the eastern equatorial Pacific
The map indicates that the satellite is performing well, and marks the continuation of almost a quarter of a century of ocean level monitoring
2/2
The map indicates that the satellite is performing well, and marks the continuation of almost a quarter of a century of ocean level monitoring

Datacollected by the Jason-3 satellite, which was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in January this year, has been used to create theprobe's very first complete science map of global sea surface height.Currently at the beginning of its operational life, the satellitewill be used to track climate change, and enable more accurate oceanand weather forecasting.

Thenew height map was constructed from data gathered in the first 10days of the Jason-3's operational life, at an altitude of 830 miles(1,336 km). It shows globalsea height levels, as collected by the satellite's radar altimeter,and details the ongoing El Niñoevent, with sea levels peaking in January this year.

Sincebeing placed in orbit at the beginning of the year, Jason-3's systemsand instruments have been tested thoroughly by mission controllers,and the satellite has been placed successfully in its operationalorbit. The probe is in the same orbit as itspredecessor – Jason-2 –with the two satellites placed 80 secondsapart. Over the coming months, the two probes will work together tomake the same observations, ensuring that the newer satellite'sinstruments are properly calibrated.

The Jason-3 readings compare favorably with the Jason-2 satellite data, indicating that the probe is working as intended. Higher than normal sea levels are shown in red, while El Nino can be seen in the eastern equatorial Pacific
The Jason-3 readings compare favorably with the Jason-2 satellite data, indicating that the probe is working as intended. Higher than normal sea levels are shown in red, while El Nino can be seen in the eastern equatorial Pacific

Oncethat calibration phase is complete, Jason-3 will set about preciselyand continuously measuring the height of 95 percent of the world'sice-free ocean, completing a full data set every 10 days.

Atthat stage, Jason-2 will be moved into a different orbit, helping theprogram cover more ground, while improving data accuracy for bothmissions. Overall, the two missions will work together to track ocean surface height, while greatlyexpanding our understanding of ocean currents and eddies across theplanet.

"Jason-3has big shoes to fill," says NASA project scientist Josh Willis."By measuring the changing levels of the ocean, Jason-2 and itspredecessors have built one of the clearest records we have of ourchanging climate."

Source:NASA

3 comments
christopher
Height map? Relative to what? This is about the most bogus of all climate sciences - every point of land on earth is moving up or down itself and even gravity is not constant; if you "calibrate" (as they do) to any fixed place on earth, are you measuring the rise of the ocean, of the sinking of the land you're calibrated to? And that's not even the worst part of this useless instrument; these greenie sideshow events totally snuff out every bit of rational thinking in the brains of environmentalists. There's double as many humans today as when I was born. That's 7.4+ billion humans. It's irrelevant what the oceans are, or are not, doing, and also irrelevant what the cause might be. THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN EVER DO that will make any measurable difference to where this is all headed.
Grainpaw
I imagine the altitudes are relative to some known benchmark, such as, say, a stable orbit calculated to several decimal place. Also, land altitudes change quite slowly, except for earthquakes, sometimes. Those who feel frustrated and confused by their lack of understanding should stand aside so the rest of us who feel capable can take action.
Mel Tisdale
One has to sympathize with Christopher. Being a member of an endangered species, i.e. a climate change contrarian, must be getting a bit much, especially considering how few there are of them left. Christopher needs to realise that he and his fellow travelers are largely to blame for a lot of the justification for projects like Jason 2 &3. Because of their hindrance to ameliorating the effects of climate change it is highly likely that wars will be fought over food supplies. The forecast sea-level rise is likely to take many naval craft out of commission because their ports will be flooded or simply too low in the water. They also need to remember that whites are outnumbered 7 to 1 and it is the coloured who are due to suffer most from climate change. I don't think 'all caps' is the most intelligent approach when one takes account of those odds, IS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!?