The European Space Agency launched a satellite on 25 April to track the progress of global warming, as part of its Copernicus project. The Sentinel-1B joins its identical twin, Sentinel-1A, in orbit to deliver information for various services, from monitoring ice in polar seas to tracking land subsidence, the ESA said. It will also respond to disasters such as floods.

Both satellites carry an advanced radar that images Earth's surface through cloud and rain regardless of whether it is day or night, ESA said. The Copernicus project, for which the European Union and the ESA have committed funding of more than €8bn (£6.2bn, $9bn) until 2020, is described by the ESA as the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date.