Why is the Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite so important?
The Jason-3 ocean-monitoring satellite was launched on 17 January this year.
After months of carefully checking its instruments and the quality of the data it is sending back to Earth, Jason-3 is now being readied to take over from its predecessor Jason-2 as the reference source of high-precision measurements of the global sea surface height from space.
Why is this important? Because the Jason satellites, and their precursor Topex/Poseidon, have played a crucial role in our understanding of the weather, the climate and the impacts of climate change.
This record of high-precision measurements of the sea surface height began in 1992 and Jason-3 is expected to ensure it continues uninterrupted until 2021.
Online Jason-3 Briefing
At 16:00 (CEST) on 19 September, representatives of all of the Jason-3 programme partners – EUMETSAT, the French Space Agency (CNES), the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the EU – gave a transatlantic briefing about this key programme and were available to answer questions via Twitter.
The European Commission funds European contributions to the satellite’s operations as part of the EU’s flagship Earth observation environmental programme, Copernicus. Within Copernicus, Jason-3 will provide essential data for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and it is the reference mission for calibrating observations of sea surface height collected by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites.
Taking part in the briefing were:
- Richard Gilmore, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
- François Parisot, EUMETSAT Altimetry Manager and Jason-3 Project Manager
- Philippe Escudier, CNES Oceanography Programme Manager
- Pierre-Yves Le Traon, from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service and Mercator Ocean Scientific Director
- Josh Willis, NASA JPL Jason-3 Project Scientist
- Laury Miller, NOAA Jason-3 Program Scientist
The briefing took place at EUMETSAT’s headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, with Josh Willis and Laury Miller joining via video link from the US.