SOUTHAMPTON-based researchers are embarking on a unique project aimed at tackling climate change.

A team at the National Oceanography Centre along with Met Office scientists will soon be leading the way analysing the most accurate data available yet on global sea levels and how the earth’s oceans are rising due to climate change.

Experts will be using data beamed 800 miles back to earth from the purpose-built Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, which was launched in America last Saturday (Nov 21). Once the satellite goes live, all the information collected will be used by both organisations to monitor the world’s oceans and weather-related events. It will also help scientists keep track and map climate change along with providing enhanced information for weather forecasting purposes.

Christine Gommenginger, from the National Oceanography Centre, said:

New data from Sentinel-6 will benefit our ongoing research. We will be able to contribute expert research and insights to UK and international change-makers, and to the public, for the benefit of all.”

Bosses at the UK Space Agency, helped fund the American and European-led satellite project.

Scientists say satellites are “indispensable” for collecting data on rising sea levels globally.

Average sea levels have risen annually by three millimetres since 1993.

Explaining how the small vehicle-sized Sentinel 6 satellite will help the experts during the next decade, UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “Tracking rising sea levels is one of the most important indicators of our planet warming up. This government-backed satellite will arm our leading scientists, researchers and meteorologists with critical data to measure the true impact of climate change on our planet.”

Dr Matthew Palmer, lead scientist on sea level rise at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, said: “The Sentinel-6 observations are critical for ongoing monitoring of global sea level and revealing the spatial pattern of rise associated with climate change.”