The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich/Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission is an international partnership between the U.S. and Europe. The mission includes two identical satellites scheduled to launch in 2020 (satellite A) and 2025 (satellite B). These satellites will carry the record of sea level change – used by agencies, oceanographers, climate scientists, and many more – into its fourth decade.

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will be a “game changer” because it will ensure continuity of sea level observations for at least a decade. Like their predecessors, these satellites will provide ongoing measurements of global sea level rise – one of the most important impacts of human-caused climate change.

The data will also support operational oceanography, improving forecasts of ocean currents as well as wind and wave conditions. In addition, it will help to improve forecasts of weather conditions likely to prevail two to four weeks ahead (e.g., hurricane intensity forecasting) and in the next season (e.g., El Niño, La Niña).

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will also aid weather prediction through a new experiment: Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO). Watching GNSS satellites as they disappear over the horizon will provide detailed information about the layers in the atmosphere. This information will contribute to computer models that predict the weather and enhance forecasting capabilities.

Since 1992, high-precision satellite altimeters have been essential to help scientists understand how the ocean stores and redistributes heat, water, and carbon in the climate system. The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS satellites will extend this legacy through at least 2030, providing a nearly 40-year record of sea level rise, along with changes in ocean currents and conditions.

More information on Sentinel-6/Jason-CS here.

Scheduled launch: 2020 and 2025