Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, a joint U.S.-European satellite built to measure global sea surface height, has sent back its first measurements of sea level. The data provide information on sea surface height, wave height, and wind speed off the southern tip of Africa.
“We’re excited for Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich to begin its critical work studying sea level and helping us understand the many aspects of our planet’s global ocean,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “I know Mike would be thrilled that the satellite bearing his name has begun operating, but he’d also be looking forward to studying the data from this important mission, as we all are.”Read the rest of this entry »
Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team
- In 15 years of operations, the GRACE satellite mission has revolutionized our view of how water moves and is stored on Earth.
- GRACE measures changes in the local pull of gravity as water shifts around Earth due to changing seasons, weather and climate processes.
- Among other innovations, GRACE gave us the first space-based view of water beneath Earth’s surface, giving insight into where aquifers may be shrinking or dry soils contributing to drought.
- The GRACE Follow-On mission, launching in early 2018, will extend GRACE’s innovative measurements
“Revolutionary” is a word you hear often when people talk about the GRACE mission. Since the twin satellites of the U.S./German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment launched on March 17, 2002, their data have transformed scientists’ view of how water moves and is stored around the planet.
“With GRACE, we effectively created a new field of spaceborne remote sensing: tracking the movement of water via its mass,” said Michael Watkins, the original GRACE project scientist and now director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.