Just in time for hurricane season, NOAA gets new global ocean satellite

This week, NOAA assumed official operational control of the Jason-3 satellite, the latest in a series of spacecraft that measure the surface height of the global ocean, monitor the rate of sea-level rise and help NOAA’s National Weather Service more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones that threaten America’s coasts.

During this year’s hurricane season, Jason-3, and its predecessor Jason-2, will provide NOAA with redundant ocean altimetry satellite data, including vital ocean temperature information, used to predict if -- and when -- a storm will strengthen. The satellites will begin flying alternating orbits by October.

Launched on January 17, and after a successful six-month phase to test the instruments in orbit, Jason-3 is flying in a low orbit, 830 miles above the Earth. Its radar altimeter monitors 95 percent of the world’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. Since the start of the TOPEX/Poseidon mission in 1992, and continuing with the Jason satellites, researchers have observed global sea-level rise at a rate of 3 millimeters a year, resulting in a total change of 70 mm — or 2.8 inches — in 23 years.

“Jason-3 and Jason-2 will provide valuable information for forecasters this hurricane season. These satellites can identify high-standing pools of warm water that fuel the explosive growth of tropical storms,” said Stephen Volz, Ph.D., assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, which is leading the Jason-3 mission.

Jason-3 is an international mission in which NOAA collaborates with NASA, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES, the French Space Agency) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

Beyond monitoring ocean height, data from Jason-3 are being used for other scientific, commercial, and operational applications, including: ocean wave height modeling for commercial vessel operators; forecasting currents for commercial shipping and ship routing; coastal forecasting for response to environmental challenges, including oil spills and harmful algal blooms; coastal modeling, which is crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research; and El Niño and La Niña forecasting.

For more information please visit the NOAA web site at http://www.noaa.gov/just-time-hurricane-season-noaa-gets-new-global-ocean-satellite


 

Jason-3 has begun mapping the ocean!

 

Jason-3 Image of Ocean MapLaunched on January 17, 2016, the Jason-3 satellite has produced its first map of sea surface height, which corresponds well to data from its predecessor, Jason-2. The map was generated from the first 10 days of data collected once Jason-3 reached its operational orbit of 830 miles (1,336 kilometers) last month. It shows the state of the ongoing El Niño event that began early last year.

Data from Jason-3 will be used to monitor climate change and track phenomena like El Niño. It will also enable more accurate weather, ocean and climate forecasts, including helping global weather and environmental agencies more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones. Jason-3 data will also be used for other scientific, commercial and operational applications worldwide.

Read the full story at http://go.usa.gov/cGJ8B

 

 

 



Jason-3 has reached its operational orbit!

A photo of Jason-3 is now flying in its operational orbit, one minute and 20 seconds behind Jason-2!Following a series of nine orbital maneuvers, executed over several days by the CNES team in Toulouse, France, Jason-3 has reached its final orbit-- traveling 348 miles and only one minute and 20 seconds behind Jason-2.

Now that the satellites are flying in tandem formation, the calibration and validation of Jason-3's data can begin. Click here to learn more about this process, and the Jason-3 milestones to come.

Jason-3, a U.S.-European satellite mission, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California January 17, 2016, at 10:42 a.m. PST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, to become the latest spacecraft to track the rate of global sea-level rise. Jason-3 will also help NOAA’s National Weather Service more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones that threaten America’s coasts.

While flying in a low orbit, 830 miles above the Earth, Jason-3 will use a radar altimeter instrument to monitor 95 percent of the world’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. Since the Topex/Poseidon, and Jason satellite missions started in 1992, researchers have observed global sea-level rise occurring at a rate of 3 mm a year, resulting in a total change of 70 mm – or 2.8 inches – in 23 years.

 


Lift-off is just the beginning: Jason-3 readies for new milestones

Satellite instruments and the data they provide are incredibly precise. Once operational, the Jason-3 satellite will be able to detect changes in sea level height down to the millimeter. This requires a careful fine-tuning of the instruments from here on Earth.

Once they reach space, satellites are put through a “commissioning phase” that usually lasts a few months. During this phase, the teams check each of the satellite’s systems to make sure they are working properly. They will also evaluate the accuracy of the data coming from the satellite and make sure that the instruments it carries are properly calibrated. Once all systems are checked out and deemed operational, the satellite will be moved into its final destination orbit.

Three days after Jason-3 launched, our partners at CNES began to acquire and process real-time data from the satellite. NOAA and CNES will continue to calibrate and validate the instruments and data while EUMETSAT conducts processing trials of the data received at the Usingen ground station. Once this six month phase is complete, Jason-3 will officially begin operations in its planned orbit.

These highly detailed measurements of sea surface height, a measure used to study sea level rise, are a critical factor in understanding Earth’s dynamic climate. Sea surface height data are also used to study hurricane intensity, tsunami dynamics, El Niño Southern Oscillation, eddy dynamics, ocean boundary currents, coastal and shallow water tides, as well as weather and climate forecasting.

Below is a list of major commissioning phase milestones for the Jason-3 satellite. Be sure to stay tuned to the Jason-3 homepage and the NESDIS Twitter and Facebook pages for milestone updates and information as Jason-3 prepares to continue to an over 20-year data legacy. The measurements from Jason-3 will advance our efforts to understand the Earth as a system and the causes of sea level rise.

Commissioning Phase Milestones

Date Milestone Description
01/17/2016 Jason 3 Launch Jason 3 launch scheduled at 10:42 pst The Jason-3 spacecraft was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on January 17, 2016.
1/18-20/2016 Jason 3 Launch and Early Orbit Phase The spacecraft and instrument teams have completed the 3-day Launch and Early Operations phase with the successful activation of the spacecraft sub-systems and all the science instruments.
2/12/2016 Jason 3 to reach final orbit Jason-3 entered its final orbit, directly behind Jason-2. The satellites are flying 560km apart with only 1 minute and 20 seconds between them. Shortly after reaching this milestone, NESDIS will release first Jason 3 demonstration products to NWS Ocean Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center for early evaluation.
5/24/2016 Official Satellite Handover from CNES to NOAA A handover review for satellite operations will be conducted between CNES and NOAA in Suitland, MD.
6/21/2016 First Verification Workshop to approve official release of operational products Workshop to announce official release of significant wave height, ocean current, and sea surface heights as Jason 3 operational products.
9/1/2016 Begin Jason-2’s move to interleave orbit Jason-2 will begin its move to an interleave orbit, leaving Jason-3 to operate in its final orbit alone.
12/15/2016 (TBC) Final Verification Workshop Workshop to announce official release of the Jason-3 climate data records for use by the climate community.

 

Last Updated: Friday, February 12, 2016 *Dates subject to change and will be updated as needed.

About Jason-3

Jason-3 is the newest satellite in a series designed to maintain long-term satellite altimetry observations of global sea surface height. These data provide critical ocean information that forecasters need to predict devastating hurricanes and severe weather before they arrive onshore. Over the long term, Jason-3 will help us to track global sea level rise, an increasing threat to the resilience of coastal communities and to the health of our environment.

Jason-3’s highly accurate altimetry measurements will be used for a variety of scientific, commercial and operational applications, including:

  • Hurricane intensity forecasting
  • Surface wave forecasting for offshore operators
  • Forecasting tides and currents for commercial shipping and ship routing
  • Coastal forecasting for response to environmental problems like oil spills and harmful algal blooms
  • Coastal modeling crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research
  • El Niño and La Niña forecasting

Jason-3 would not have been possible without a global partnership between Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), that freely shared scientific knowledge, financial support and a vision for the betterment of the global community.


Jason-3 Related Videos


Jason-3 Officially Reaches Orbit!

After a successful launch, Jason-3 will soon join Jason-2 in a continuing 20-year legacy of measuring sea level rise.

Jan 17, 2016

SpaceX Rocket Photo at Vandenberg Air Force BaseJason-3, a U.S.-European satellite mission, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today at 10:42 a.m. PST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, to become the latest spacecraft to track the rate of global sea-level rise. Jason-3 will also help NOAA’s National Weather Service more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones that threaten America’s coasts.

Jason-3 will undergo a six-month phase to test the satellite’s instruments in orbit. Once complete, it will officially begin operations, joining Jason-2, which was launched in 2008.

While flying in a low orbit, 830 miles above the Earth, Jason-3 will use a radar altimeter instrument to monitor 95 percent of the world’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. Since the Topex/Poseidon, and Jason satellite missions started in 1992, researchers have observed global sea-level rise occurring at a rate of 3 mm a year, resulting in a total change of 70 mm – or 2.8 inches – in 23 years.

“Jason-3 will continue the legacy of the Topex/Poseidon and earlier Jason satellites by gathering environmental intelligence from the world’s oceans,” said Stephen Volz, Ph.D., assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, which is leading the international mission. “Jason-3 will tell us about the heat of the ocean, vital data if a tropical storm or hurricane is tracking into that location. Having up-to-date sea surface temperatures will help NOAA forecasters better determine if a storm may intensify.”

Jason-3 is an international mission, in which NOAA is partnering with NASA, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES, the French Space Agency) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

“Jason-3 is a prime example of how our nation leverages NASA expertise in space and scientific exploration to help address critical global challenges in collaboration with NOAA and our international partners,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters. “The measurements from Jason-3 will advance our efforts to understand the Earth as a system and the causes of sea level rise.”

Data from Jason-3 will be used for other scientific, commercial, and operational applications, including: deep-ocean and wave modeling, surface wave forecasting for offshore operators; forecasting tides and currents for commercial shipping and ship routing; coastal forecasting for response to environmental challenges, including oil spills and harmful algal blooms; coastal modeling, which is crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research and El Niño and La Niña forecasting.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.


It’s Showtime!!!
Jason-3 Launching Today: 10:42 PST/1:42 EST

January 17, 2016

For LIVE coverage of the launch,  click here for NASA TV downlink, schedule information, and streaming video

The Jason-3 satellite will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:42 PST/1:42 EST today. NASA TV will be covering the event live starting at 8:00 am PST/ 11:00 am EST. You can also get  launch updates on Twitter by following @NOAAsatellites.

Jason-3 will be travelling aboard a Falcon-9 rocket, which is a “two-stage” rocket.  Each stage has its own engines and propellant.

About 154 seconds after the Falcon-9 rocket lifts off, the main engine will cut off. About three seconds after that, the rocket's first stage will separate. Second-stage ignition will follow in about eight seconds. Half a minute into the second-stage burn, the payload fairing, or launch vehicle nose cone, will be jettisoned -- a bit over three minutes after launch. The first cutoff of the second-stage engine will take place nine minutes after liftoff.

The Jason-3 spacecraft and second stage will then coast in an intermediate orbit for about another 46 minutes. The second-stage engine will fire a second time about 55 minutes after launch to place Jason-3 in the desired orbit. Separation of the rocket and spacecraft will occur about half a minute later, or almost 56 minutes after liftoff. A little more than two minutes later, Jason-3 will begin to deploy its twin solar arrays to prepare for operation.

Jason-3 will be flown one minute behind its sister satellite, Jason-2, in order to detect any offsets between the missions. Jason-2 will subsequently be moved to a different orbit to provide additional data coverage. 

For LIVE updates, follow @NOAAsatellites or  click here for NASA TV downlink, schedule information, and streaming video


 

Jason-3 Reddit AMA with NOAA and NASA Scientists!

January 5, 2016

 

Do you have questions about the launch of the Jason-3 satellite? Today is your chance to ask actual NOAA and NASA scientists about the satellite and its mission! https://www.reddit.com/r/science. The Jason-3 satellite will provide altimetry observations of global sea surface height. These data provide critical information forecasters need to predict devastating hurricanes, severe weather, and surface wave heights that can affect shipping and offshore operations.

For over 20 years, the Jason series of satellites (and their predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon), have helped to track global sea level rise, one of the main symptoms of climate change, and other climate phenomena such as El Niño. Data from Jason-3 will be added to this record and will be vital in helping to improve climate prediction models. Eventually we will also re-purpose Jason-2 into its new role of mapping the ocean floor.

Before we launch our new spacecraft, our scientists are ready to answer your questions!

Jason-3 Reddit AMA Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016 2-4 pm ET (1900-2100 UT)


Jason-3 News

Jason-3 Satellite to Bolster Hurricane-Intensity Forecasts, Continue Tracking Global Sea-Level Rise

December 17, 2015

Jason-3, the latest in a series of satellites that tracks the rate of global sea-level rise and can help NOAA more accurately forecast the strength of tropical cyclones, is scheduled to launch later next month. The U.S.-European partnership mission will lift off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on January 17 at approximately 10:42 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Like its predecessor missions, Jason-3 will use a radar altimeter instrument and fly in a low-Earth orbit, allowing it to monitor 95 percent of Earth’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. Since the Topex/Poseidon-Jason missions began in 1992, global sea-level rise has occurred at about 3 mm a year, resulting in a total change of 70 mm (2.8 inches) in 23 years, according to researchers.

“The rate of sea-level rise is an important indicator of climate change happening around the world,” said Laury Miller, NOAA’s Jason-3 program scientist and chief of NOAA’s Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry. “We are already seeing significant impacts on coastal regions globally, including more frequent flooding events along the coastal United States.”

In addition to detecting climate change factors, Jason-3 data will help predict short-term, severe weather events, such as hurricanes and tropical storms. NOAA will use the altimeter measurements to monitor ocean conditions that trigger changes in the strength of tropical cyclones, as they move over the ocean towards the land. The technique involves mapping the ocean heat content — the fuel that feeds a storm’s intensity — along a storm’s predicted track.

“The ocean heat content from satellite altimeters can reduce the error of NOAA’s hurricane intensity forecast models by as much as 20 percent in some instances,” Miller said.

Like its predecessor missions, Jason-3 will use a radar altimeter instrument and fly in a low-Earth orbit, allowing it to monitor 95 percent of Earth’s ice-free oceans every 10 days. In addition to detecting climate change factors, Jason-3 data will help predict short-term, severe weather events, such as hurricanes and tropical storms.

Measurements from Jason-3 will be used for other scientific, commercial and operational applications, including: mesoscale deep-ocean and wave modeling, surface wave forecasting for offshore operators; forecasting tides and currents for commercial shipping and ship routing; coastal forecasting for response to environmental problems, including oil spills and harmful algal blooms; coastal modeling, which is crucial for marine mammal and coral reef research and El Niño and La Niña forecasting.

“Data from Jason satellites have been invaluable to the study of El Nino and its impacts for the past two decades," said Josh Willis, NASA's Jason-3 project scientist. "With the launch of Jason-3, our efforts to better monitor and understand the widespread effects of El Nino around the world will continue for years to come."

Jason-3 is an international cooperative mission in which NOAA is partnering with NASA, CNES (the French Space Agency) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, (or EUMETSAT). Jason-3 will eventually replace Jason-2, which was launched in 2008.

For more information about the Jason-3 mission, please visit: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3. The site includes a video overview, images, fact sheets and frequently asked questions.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

 


Jason-3 satellite arrives in California, begins preparation for Aug. 8 launch

JUNE 18, 2015

The Jason-3 satellite flew from France and arrived today at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and will be prepared to launch August 8, 2015. Jason-3 will continue a 23-year effort to monitor the world's oceans, tracking sea-level rise, ocean heat content and sea-surface height. Additionally, Jason-3 data will help NOAA accurately predict when tropical cyclones intensify. NOAA leads the international mission, which includes partnership with NASA, the French Space Agency (CNES) and EUMETSAT.


Jason-3 Will Add to Record of the Sea's Rise and Fall

Written by Carol Rasmussen

APRIL 21, 2015

Jason-3, a mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is currently scheduled to launch on July 22 [Ed. note: Launch date has been delayed], is the latest in a series of U.S.-European satellite missions that have been measuring the height of the ocean surface for 23 years. Sea level height is a critical piece of evidence about Earth's natural cycles and how humans are affecting our planet. Read More...