Like Sentinel-1, Sentinel-3 is a constellation of two satellites which form part of the Copernicus programme, designed to provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information on the environment. Sentinel-3 is primarily an ocean mission, however, it also has atmospheric and land applications.
The Sentinel-3 satellites carry a suite of cutting-edge instruments which allow them to systematically measure the Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere, and provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting. As well as measuring the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface, Sentinel-3 will for example measure sea ice thickness and also provide enhanced continuity of satellites such as Envisat and SPOT.
CPOM researchers have been working to establish Sentinel-3’s potential for monitoring the Antarctic Ice Sheet, complementing the measurements made by CryoSat-2 and other missions. Their study revealed that, at a test site, Sentinel-3 was able to detect the height of the ice surface to within tens of centimetres, and could also detect where the ice surface was rapidly lowering.