U.S. Launches Satellite to Monitor Climate Change Effects, Weather

A rocket carrying a U.S-French ocean-monitoring satellite has lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast.

The Delta 2 rocket blasted off at 12:46 a.m. PDT Friday.

The satellite, called Ocean Surface Topography Mission-Jason 2, will use a radar altimeter to precisely measure the height of the ocean surface, which changes depending on temperature.

NASA says the data will be used to monitor effects of climate change on sea level and to improve global weather, climate and ocean forecasts.

Such observations began in 1992 with a spacecraft dubbed Topex-Poseidon and has continued with the current Jason 1 satellite. The two Jasons will fly in tandem.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects to use the new satellite to improve hurricane forecasting.