Lift-off for Sentinel-3B climate satellite for real time data

Scientists at the National Centre of Earth Observation (NCEO) today welcomed the successful launch of the newest satellite in Europe’s Copernicus programme, Sentinel-3B.

The NCEO is a distributed centre with over 100 scientists from UK institutions, led by Professor John Remedios at Leicester.

The Sentinel-3B will join its sister Sentinel-3A in orbit to provide real time observations of the Earth’s surface. As well as measuring the oceans, the two satellites will provide unique and timely information about changing land cover, vegetation, urban heat islands, and for tracking wildfires.

The two satellites will fly in tandem to provide better estimates of the quality of data coming from both satellites. This so-called ‘cross-calibration’ is essential for deriving accurate long-term climate data records, an area in which the UK has world-class capability.

Speaking from the a meeting of the international space co-ordination body, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, Professor John Remedios, Director of NCEO, said: “Sentinel-3B marks an important step  forward in our capability to provide high quality data as fast as possible for wherever people live and move. Together with Sentinel-3A, it marks a point of markedly improved precision and regional representations in our climate records for land, ocean and particles in the atmosphere.”

Scientists in NCEO are leading worldwide efforts to produce climate records for sea and land surface temperatures, ocean chlorophyll and phytoplankton, aerosols and clouds.

NCEO-Leicester’s Dr Darren Ghent is working on a project to produce datasets of land surface temperature, using satellite data to provide the best possible global coverage, including information about the diurnal cycle.

Ghent said: “The Sentinel-3A mission has been providing high quality land surface temperature (LST) data on a routine basis through Copernicus since 5th July 2017. The launch of Sentinel-3B begins the next phase of the Sentinel-3 series, which will expand capability to deliver increased coverage of LST to the science community.”