How does a beer cooler help understand climate?

09 July 2014

While engineers have almost finished building the first Sentinel-3 satellite for ocean forecasting and marine safety, a beer cooler has an unusual role in supporting the long-term record of sea-surface temperatures.

Measuring the surface temperatures of our planet's seas is important for understanding how the oceans exchange heat, gases and energy with the atmosphere. Long-term, accurate measurements that are stable over time are fundamental for climate-change research.

However, since ESA's Envisat satellite was lost in 2012 - after more than doubling its planned working life - there has not been a 'dual-view radiometer' in orbit that collects these important measurements.

Sentinel-3 is one of the six families of missions that ESA is developing for the environmental monitoring Copernicus programme. It focuses on delivering a wealth of data for applications related to oceans and coastal zones.

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