The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT)
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is a joint effort between NASA, the French Space Agency (CNES), and several international partners. The mission aims to provide highly accurate measurements of the Earth’s water cycle by measuring changes in the height of the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies.
The SWOT mission will use a high-resolution radar altimeter to measure water height variations on the surface of the Earth. The mission will provide the first global survey of the Earth’s surface water features, including oceans, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. This data will be used to better understand the Earth’s water cycle, including how water is transported and stored, how it interacts with the land and atmosphere, and how it affects climate.
The SWOT satellite is designed to operate in a highly elliptical orbit, with a 21-day repeat cycle. The orbit will allow the satellite to observe the entire Earth’s surface over a three-year period, with each swath covering 120 km in width. The satellite will carry a Ka-band radar altimeter with a 10-meter diameter antenna that will transmit and receive signals to measure the height of the water surface.
One of the main objectives of the SWOT mission is to improve our understanding of how freshwater is stored and transported across the Earth. This includes tracking the movement of water through rivers, lakes, and wetlands, as well as measuring changes in the water level in aquifers and groundwater reservoirs.
The SWOT mission is also expected to provide valuable data on ocean currents and their impact on climate. The satellite will be able to measure small-scale ocean features, such as eddies and vortices, with unprecedented accuracy. This data will help improve our understanding of how ocean currents affect the Earth’s climate and weather patterns.
The SWOT mission is also expected to provide important information for disaster response and management. By monitoring changes in water levels and surface features, the satellite will be able to help predict and respond to floods, droughts, and other natural disasters.
The SWOT mission is currently in development, with a planned launch date in 2022. The mission is part of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program, which aims to develop innovative technologies and measurement techniques to better understand the Earth’s climate and ecosystems.
In summary, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is a joint effort between NASA and the French Space Agency that aims to provide highly accurate measurements of the Earth’s surface water features. The mission will use a high-resolution radar altimeter to measure changes in water height on the surface of the Earth, providing valuable data on the water cycle, ocean currents, and climate. The SWOT mission is expected to have important applications in disaster response and management, as well as improving our understanding of the Earth’s ecosystems and climate.
credit and information: NASA