The Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite was launched April 25, 2018, joining its identical twin, Sentinel-3A in orbit. Less than two weeks after its launch, Sentinel-3B delivered its first images from its ocean and land cover instrument (OLCI), including a sunset over Antarctica, swirls of sea ice around Greenland, and a rare cloud-free image of Northern Europe. In addition, Sentinel-3B’s altimeter has delivered data on the height of Lake Van in east Turkey.
Now with the thermal infrared channels of the radiometer turned on, a thermal image of southern Italy, the Mediterranean Sea, and Sicily has been obtained. The hotspot is Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano. The land surface temperature is displayed in orange-red colors, and the ocean tempure is shown in blue colors. The thermal channels of the radiometer will have both land and sea applications for surface temperature including urban heat island and wildfire monitoring, and oceanographic forecasting.
Each Sentinel-3 satellite carries four main instruments:
- OLCI: Ocean and Land Color Instrument
- SLSTR: Sea and Land Surface Temperature Instrument
- SRAL: SAR Radar Altimeter
- MWR: Microwave Radiometer
Sentinel-3B will not be fully commissioned for service for another four months or so, but according to the ESA, its data are already comparing well with those of its fully-operational twin, Sentinel-3A. The pairing of Sentinel-3A and 3B increase the coverage and delivery of the data.
Image source: ESA