Thursday, February 4, 2010

Global sea level rise monitoring secured for next decade

Environmental Expert via EUMETSAT: The transatlantic Jason-3 Programme has now been approved by EUMETSAT Member States thus ensuring a continuation of the series of measurements made by the Jason-2 satellite and its predecessors in support of meteorology, operational oceanography and in particular the monitoring of the sea level trend, a key indicator of climate change.

Nineteen EUMETSAT Member States have agreed to subscribe to the Jason-3 ocean altimetry satellite programme: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Together, these countries are prepared to contribute €63.6 million (at 2009 economic conditions) to the €252-million programme cost of Jason-3.

Today, Jason-2’s Ocean Surface Topography Mission provides a vital contribution to the monitoring of climate change, ocean circulation and weather. Jason-2 already supplies the much-needed data continuity essential for measuring the sea level trend, one of the key indicators of climate change. Jason-3 will continue the mission, ensuring the measurement of rising sea levels carried out by Jason-2, Jason-1 and TOPEX/Poseidon over the last 18 years. These high accuracy measurements have until now shown an average global annual sea level rise through the last 15 years of 3.3 millimetres.

…The Jason-3 programme is led by EUMETSAT and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA already secured funding of the Jason-3 programme in 2009 at the level of €100 million and has given it top priority for securing climate-related measurements. In addition, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, is making a significant in-kind contribution to the programme and will act at the technical level as the system coordinator. This in-kind contribution includes making available the Jason-3 Proteus satellite platform, its facilities and associated human resources….

Image of the Jason 2 satellite -- the most recent I could find

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