Spacecraft to monitor behaviour of oceans.

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Europe has committed to build the next Jason altimeter spacecraft to monitor the behaviour of the world’s oceans.

The decision should guarantee the continuation of a remarkable 18-year record of sea-surface shape until late in the decade.

It is the Jason series that has traced the recent steady rise in global sea level by about 3mm per year.

The data has become invaluable to oceanographers, weather forecasters and climatologists.

Eumetsat, which looks after Europe’s meteorological satellites, has indicated that its member states will now meet their 25% share of the 252m-euro ($380m;