Using Sentinel-6, British scientists will be able to monitor the effects of global warming on coastal populations.
A space satellite that will enable British scientists to measure sea level was launched into space on a SpaceX rocket.
Michael Freilich, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich was successfully launched into orbit from a launch pad in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
As large as a small 4×4 car, Sentinel-6 will orbit the earth from an altitude of 830 miles and collect ocean data that will be crucial for monitoring climate change.
The data will be analysed by the UK’s climate and ocean experts, including experts from the Met Office and the National Oceanography Centre, to help predict what the global sea level could look like in the future.
Global climate change is contributing to sea level changes by warming the planet and causing the world’s glaciers and polar ice caps to melt.
Ocean levels have risen by an average of just over 3 mm every year since 1993, although this has accelerated to 4.8 mm in recent years, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
This rise is expected to increase even further with the global temperature climate.
The British government said Sentinel-6 will provide the only way to accurately measure global sea levels and help protect the 600 million people living in vulnerable coastal areas around the world.
Named after the former head of NASA’s Earth Science Department – Dr. Michael Freilich – the satellite is part of the Copernicus mission under the European Union’s Earth Observation Program.
It was jointly developed by ESA, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
said British Science Secretary Amanda Solloway: “Monitoring rising sea levels is one of the most important indicators of global warming.
“This government-backed satellite will provide our leading scientists, researchers and meteorologists with vital data to measure the real impact of climate change on our planet,” said Solloway.