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Jason-3 ready to take over crucial ocean monitoring role

06 September 2016

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In early October, the ocean-monitoring satellite Jason-3 will take over from Jason-2 as the reference source of high-precision measurements of the global sea surface height from space.

Why should those with an interest in the climate and weather be interested in a satellite "baton passing" occurring 1,336km above the Earth?

Because the Jason satellites, and their precursor Topex/Poseidon, have played and will continue to play an extremely important role in our understanding of the weather, the climate and the impacts of climate change.

Since 1992, they have been taking highly accurate measurements of sea surface height – down to the millimetre - providing information that is not only crucial for weather forecasting models but also an invaluable, long-term, uninterrupted record of changes.

But Jason-2 has been in orbit now for more than eight years, still delivering an excellent mission, and has significantly exceeded its nominal lifespan of five years, so the time is right for Jason-3 to take over.

Jason-3 is expected to ensure this long-term record continues until 2021.


Image credit: SSC

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