It is June 20, 2008, 12:46 a.m. at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The weather is chilly, but chilly weather does nothing to cool the heated excitement of hundreds of people here to witness of the launch of the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite (OSTM/Jason-2).
The successful launch of OSTM/Jason-2 two years ago was the first step in the continuation of a U.S./European 17-year legacy of satellite radar altimeters measuring the highs and lows of the ocean surface.
The precise measurements of ocean surface topography obtained from Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1, and OSTM/Jason-2 indicate a global sea level rise of 3.3 millimeters per year. Scientists combine these measurements with information from other satellites, improving our understanding of how the ocean behaves in a warming climate.
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|Sea level rise measured by Jason-series satellites, 1992 to 2010. |
Image credit: CLS/LEGOS/CNES
The OSTM/Jason-2 instruments began cycle 1 of data collection on July 12, 2008, and by June 20, 2010, the satellite will have completed more than 9,300 orbits.
Using Jason-2 altimetry data, scientists were able to closely monitor the 2009-10 Pacific El Nino event (left), which was dwarfed in comparison with the "grande" El Nino of 1997-1998 (right).
Around the globe, Jason-2 data are being used by operational weather agencies for climate forecasting. For many countries, these forecasts are crucial to plan for flooding and drought, agricultural strategies and allocating water and energy use.
Jason-2 has been operating in a tandem mission mode with Jason-1 since February 2009.
All spacecraft systems and instruments onboard Jason-2 continue to operate well. The mission teams and data users worldwide are looking forward to the next anniversary.
For more information on OSTM/Jason-2 go to: