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Suggested Citation:"SWOT, Surface Water and Ocean Topography ." National Research Council. 2008. Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11952.
Page 24

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Earth Science and Applications from Space 24 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 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.

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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade Get This Book
 Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade
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Satellite Observations to Benefit Science and Society: Recommended Missions for the Next Decade brings the next ten years into focus for the Earth and environmental science community with a prioritized agenda of space programs, missions, and supporting activities that will best serve scientists in the next decade. These missions will address a broad range of societal needs, such as more reliable weather forecasts, early earthquake warnings, and improved pollution management, benefiting both scientific discovery and the health and well-being of society.

Based on the 2007 book, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, this book explores each of the seventeen recommended missions in detail, identifying launch dates, responsible agencies, estimated cost, scientific and public benefits, and more. Printed entirely in color, the book features rich photographs and illustrations, tables, and graphs that will keep the attention of scientists and non-scientists alike.


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