A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite named after a former NASA official. The launch was from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Falcon’s first stage separated, returned to the launch site, and landed for reuse. Credit for using reusable rockets goes to Elon Musk. Subsequently, the second stage released the satellite with a time gap of an hour. It deployed its solar panels and established contact with controllers. The satellite will conduct a detailed study, spread over two decades, of the global sea surface heights. Scientists expect this exercise would help to establish the relationship between the phenomenon of sea-level rise and global warming.

NBC News says the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite derives its name from a former NASA official. He played a key role in developing space-based oceanography. In the present case, an extremely accurate radar altimeter would monitor sea waves continuously. The radar altimeter would bounce energy off the sea surface as it sweeps over Earth’s oceans. In 2025, there would be another identical twin launched. It is Sentinel-6B, and it would ensure that there is no break in continuity. Incidentally, space-based sea level measurements are not new. They have been going on since 1992. At that time, it was the U.S.-French satellite TOPEX-Poseidon. The latest is the Jason-3.

NASA and ESA will share the cost of the mission

Sea level rise is a direct fallout of the heating and cooling of water.

Scientists can use the altimeter data to identify conditions that would influence the weather, like the warm El Nino and the cool La Nina. In scientists' opinion, such advanced information would benefit billions of people who reside in coastal regions because the rising seas could threaten their very existence. They might lose their homes and livelihoods.

NBC News quotes the Earth Science Division director of NASA saying: “Our Earth is a system of intricately connected dynamics between land, ocean, ice, atmosphere and also, of course, our human communities, and that system is changing.” She is Karen St. Germain, and she adds that 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is an ocean. They play a vital role in defining how the whole system changes.

The focus of NASA and ESA’s project is on sea-level rise

Josef Aschbacher is the director of Earth observation of the European Space Agency. He says: “This is an extremely important parameter for climate monitoring. We know that sea level is rising,” reports The Associated Press. The new satellite would provide data to scientists that would be useful while monitoring the weather patterns. NBC News adds sea level rise is a fact, and the new satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich would help understand the seriousness. In October 2019, there was a report in the media that by 2050, rising sea levels could destroy innumerable cities.

The satellite of NASA and ESA will monitor the world’s oceans

According to The Hill, there is a realization that the rise in sea level is an issue that has to be addressed.

Hence, a new U.S.-European satellite will monitor various aspects of the oceans for researchers to track rising sea levels. This is one of climate change’s many dangers. Greenhouse gas emissions heat the Earth and transfer the heat to the ocean. The result is the melting of glaciers with a consequent rise in sea level. These lead to coastal flooding and displacement of coastal communities. The increase in mean sea level by about 8 inches since 1880 is a matter of concern. In the past century, it has climbed about a foot or more in some cities in America. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA caution that by the end of the century, global sea level could rise 8.2 feet above 2000 levels by the year 2100 if the world does not take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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