NASA plans to launch a satellite tomorrow that follows the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans and collects data to improve weather forecasts. The satellite will continue NASA’s three decades of work documenting rising sea levels and will provide scientists with a more accurate picture of the coastlines than they have ever had from space.
“The best view of the front seat in the oceans is from space,” says Thomas Zurbuchen, head of science at NASA.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA̵
When NASA began its work on rising sea levels in the 1990s, scientists were still curious about whether predictions about the impact of climate change came true, according to Zurbuchen. “The question of where the seas rise or not [as the planet heats up] has been launched by these satellites, it is not a question, ”says Zurbuchen The edge. “Just as sure as gravity right here where I sit, these oceans are going up and we have to deal with what it does to our lives.”
NASA scientists will be able to make higher-resolution observations much closer to shore with the new satellites, allowing for more accurate weather forecasts just before storms land. When a great storm develops over the sea, the water tenses up. A satellite can pick up the rising water bubble and use this information for forecasts. The granular measurements could also be used to see how changes in sea level near shores can affect shipping and commercial fishing.
Tides creep further ashore due to climate change. This is because water expands when it warms up and because the world’s glaciers and ice sheets melt. The intrusive water makes floods and storm surges increasingly dangerous. It also drowns entire islands and coastal communities. It has already forced people from Louisiana to Papua New Guinea to abandon the places they have called home for generations.
“What the question today is, what is the impact [of sea level rise] and what can we do about it? Siger Zurbuchen. “These are the issues that matter to my family, to my friends, to all of our families, because they affect how our families can live in the future.”