Sea levels are rising everywhere, but in some areas they are rising quicker than others, bringing increased dangers of flooding.
The altimetry project stretches back to 1992, and provides the global reference data for satellite-measured ocean surface topography. It is the Jason series and its predecessor, the Topex/Poseidon spacecraft, that have traced the recent 3mm per year rise in sea levels.
The surface height information has been invaluable to oceanographers, weather forecasters and climatologists.
On 2 February 2010 EUMETSAT announced that the Jason-3 ocean altimetry satellite Programme was approved by EUMETSAT Member States which will ensure a continuation for 2013-2014 of the series of measurements made by the Jason-2 satellite and its predecessors.
Jason-2 provides a vital contribution to the monitoring of climate change, ocean circulation and weather and already supplies the data continuity that is essential for measuring the sea level trend, one of the key indicators of climate change.
Jason-3 will continue the mission, ensuring thus the measurement of rising sea levels carried out by Jason-2, Jason-1 and TOPEX/Poseidon over the last 18 years.