NASA launching new satellite into orbit to monitor Earth’s sea levels

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 5:04 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - NASA is launching a new satellite into Earth’s orbit tomorrow, Saturday, and it is meant to help researchers better understand rising sea levels.

The sattelite is named Sentinel-6, and will use altimetry to provide real-time measurements to researchers on sea-surface height and will even be able to distinguish changes in surface levels to mere centimeters.

Scientists hope the high-precision of Sentinel-6 will help identify the cause and effect of this natural phenomenon.

“These satellite observations are really critical from a planning perspective, both to tell us how sea level is changing now and then using that understanding to infer how it might change in the future,” said researcher Ben Hamlington.

Sentinel-6 will also record wind speeds and study the atmosphere, which will help scientists track climate patterns and better forecast weather.

Researchers say the information gathered through the satellite is critical, as populations in coastal areas are expected to double by 2060.

Sentinel-6 will orbit planet Earth for at least 5 years, at which time it will be replaced by Sentinel 6B- set to launch in 2025.

Saturday’s launch will take place at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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