SWOT SURFACE WATER AND OCEAN TOPOGRAPHY

LAUNCH: 2013–2016

MISSION SIZE: Medium

ORBIT: LEO, SSO

AGENCY: NASA

ESTIMATED COST: $450 million

AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate, Health, Water

INSTRUMENTS: Ka- or Ku-band wide-swath synthetic aperture radar interferometer, Ku-band nadir altimeter, microwave radiometer

BENEFITS:

Improved water management in transboundary river basins

Improved prediction of carbon fluxes to and from wetlands

Improved flood and marine forecasts

Identification and forecasts of inundation and malaria zones

Prediction of changes in sea level

More than 75 percent of the world’s population relies on drinking water from lakes, rivers, and other surface sources. Yet there is no coordinated global system for measuring supplies of surface water. Key information that affects the flow of water from one nation to another is often not freely available. Data on river discharge are vital in managing water resources as well as predicting floods, one of the world’s deadliest natural hazards.

The Jason series of satellites has gathered groundbreaking data on global oceans using radar altimetry. However, the data’s resolution is not sufficient to assess water levels on rivers and near coastlines. SWOT will extend the Jason record and analyze water surfaces over both land and ocean at much higher spatial resolution, using a suite of instruments that includes an interferometer, a microwave radiometer, and a radar altimeter. SWOT will produce the first remotely sensed estimates of water storage in lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands across the world. Its vertical accuracy will be a few centimeters, averaged over areas of roughly a square kilometer. In many locations, these will be the first such data ever available, serving as a boon to water managers as well as researchers studying river and water-storage dynamics.

The timing of SWOT may depend on the longevity of the Jason-2 mission, now scheduled for launch in mid-2008. An overlap with XOVWM (see page 26) is highly desirable for measuring winds over the ocean.



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earth Science and applicatiOnS frOm Space  SWOT SURFACE WATER AND OCEAN TOPOGRAPHY LAUNCH: 2013–2016 MISSION SIZE: medium AGENCY: nasa ORBIT: Leo, sso ESTIMATED COST: $450 million AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate, health, Water INSTRUMENTS : Ka- or Ku-band wide-swath synthetic aperture radar interferometer, Ku-band nadir altimeter, microwave radiometer BENEFITS: improved water management in transboundary river basins improved prediction of carbon fluxes to and from wetlands improved flood and marine forecasts identification and forecasts of inundation and malaria zones Prediction of changes in sea level more than 75 percent of the world’s population relies on drinking water from lakes, rivers, and other surface sources. Yet there is no coordinated global system for measuring supplies of surface water. Key information that affects the flow of water from one nation to another is often not freely available. Data on river discharge are vital in managing water resources as well as predicting floods, one of the world’s deadliest natural hazards. the Jason series of satellites has gathered groundbreaking data on global oceans using radar altimetry. however, the data’s resolu- tion is not sufficient to assess water levels on rivers and near coast- lines. sWot will extend the Jason record and analyze water surfaces over both land and ocean at much higher spatial resolution, using a suite of instruments that includes an inter- ferometer, a microwave radiometer, and a radar altimeter. sWot will produce the first remotely sensed estimates of water stor- age in lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands across the world. its vertical accuracy will be a few centimeters, averaged over areas of roughly a square kilometer. in many locations, these will be the first such data ever available, serving as a boon to water managers as well as researchers studying river and water-storage dynamics. the timing of sWot may depend on the longevity of the Jason-2 mission, now scheduled for launch in mid-2008. an overlap with xoVWm (see page 26) is highly desirable for measuring winds over the ocean.