SWOT - Surface Water and Ocean Topography


Program Description: NASA and the French space agency Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) have agreed to jointly build, launch, and operate a spacecraft to conduct the first-ever global survey of Earth's surface water and to map ocean surface height with unprecedented detail. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission brings together two communities focused on a better understanding of the world's oceans and its terrestrial surface waters. U.S. and French oceanographers and hydrologists have joined forces to develop this new space mission to make the first global survey of Earth's surface water, observe the fine details of the ocean's surface topography, and measure how water bodies change over time. By measuring water storage changes in all wetlands, lakes, and reservoirs and making it possible to estimate discharge in rivers more accurately, SWOT will contribute to a fundamental understanding of the terrestrial branch of the global water cycle. SWOT will also map wetlands and non-channelized flow. SWOT will provide high-spatial resolution, global measurements of ocean surface topography. These measurements will improve ocean circulation models leading to better prediction of weather and climate as well as variations in ocean currents important for navigation, fisheries, and offshore commercial operations. Implementation agreement signed in 2014; launch planned for 2020; 3 year operation.

Year Started: 2020.

Organization Description: N/A

Data Description: The project will provide sea surface heights (SSH) and terrestrial water heights over a 120 km wide swath with a +/-10 km gap at the nadir track. Over the deep oceans, provide SSH within each swath with a posting every 2 km x 2 km, and a precision not to exceed 0.8 cm when averaged over the area. Over land, SWOT will download the raw data for ground processing and produce a water mask able to resolve 100 meter wide rivers and lakes of 250 meter2 in size, wetlands, or reservoirs. Associated with this mask will be water level elevations with an accuracy of 10 cm and a slope accuracy of 1 cm/1 km. SWOT will cover at least 90 percent of the globe.

Project Type: Instrument

Project Domains: Geosciences

No budget information

Federal Funding: NASA

Program Data

No data items have been submitted for this program yet.