Satellite to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base will measure world's rising sea levels

Jan 15, 2016

Several agencies at Vandenberg Air Force base are preparing to launch a satellite Sunday that will measure the effects of climate change on the world's oceans. 

Artist's rendering of Jason-3.
Credit NASA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is leading the Jason-3 satellite mission and collaborating with other agencies, including NASA, the French Space Agency, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, to monitor ocean surfaces. 

The satellite will be used to measure global sea surface heights and to support forecasts for seasonal and coastal conditions.

Laury Miller is with NOAA and is the Jason-3 program scientist and chief and said at a prelaunch conference Friday the satellites information is incredibly useful to NOAA. 

"It allows us to track not only the sea level changes impacting our coastal features right now, but also to help forecast extreme weather," said Miller. 

Satellite data will be used in research and as a tool for fisheries management and for the marine industry. 

The Jason-3 mission goal is five years, but is expected to last at least three.