Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are teaming up with European researchers to launch a mission that will probe the oceans’ depths over the next decade — and chart their inexorable rise.
The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission builds on four previous satellites that have circled the globe along the same path since 1992, carefully documenting the millimeter-by-millimeter changes in sea level fueled by greenhouse gas emissions. Over that time, they have found that the world’s oceans are rising at an increasingly rapid rate.
The rising waters have had some disastrous consequences, including the erosion of precious coastlines, contamination of agricultural land, more frequent and destructive high tides, and lost habitat for both humans and wildlife.
The Jason satellites, coupled with complementary readings from other NASA Earth-facing missions, have been essential to tracking these changes and dealing with their consequences, said R. Steven Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder and member of NASA’s Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.
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