Published on 23 January 2019
On January 17th, Jason-3 celebrated the third anniversary of its launch after having orbited the Earth more than 14,000 times. But it’s not just any anniversary.
At its 3rd birthday, Jason-3 closed its routine operations phase, having accomplished the primary goals defined by its American and European partners: EUMETSAT, NOAA, CNES, NASA/JPL and the European Commission.
As the satellite and its instruments continue to perform extremely well, from today Jason-3 enters its extended routine operations phase.
This terminology might not mean much to those outside the meteorological satellite sector, but the importance should not be overlooked. Barring unforeseen circumstances, at least two more years of highly accurate data crucial for climate change monitoring, weather forecasting and safety at sea, and many other applications, can be expected.
“Measurements from Jason-3’s altimeter are crucial for climate monitoring,” EUMETSAT Mission Scientist Remko Scharroo said. “Over the past 25 years, the Jason satellites and their predecessors have measured a mean sea level of rise of about 3mm per year. Recently, the first sign that the rise in the mean sea level is accelerating has been observed.
“Jason-3 is the current High Precision Ocean Altimetry reference mission and is functioning as the reference for other satellite altimeter missions, such as that of Sentinel-3.
“The marine meteorology community continues to benefit from high-quality wind speed and sea state measurements, which are key factors for improving complex computer modelling needed for weather prediction.
“And its sea level measurements are inputs for a host of operational ocean applications, such as ocean current monitoring conducted by Europe’s Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and hurricane forecasting by NOAA’s National Hurricane Centre.”