Mission Applications Support at NASA: Coastal Applications of SWOT Mission Data

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Craig A. Peterson, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, United States, Margaret M Srinivasan, Caltech/JPL, Pasadena, CA, United States and Yi Chao, Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc., Sierra Madre, CA, United States
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is an international collaboration of two scientific communities focused on a better understanding of the world’s oceans and its terrestrial surface waters. SWOT will produce the first global survey of Earth's surface water by measuring sea surface height and the heights, slopes, and inundated areas of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. These coastal, lake and river measurements will be useful for monitoring the hydrologic cycle, flooding, and climate impacts of a changing environment.

NASA and their French, Canadian and the United Kingdom space agency partners are developing new wide swath altimetry technology that will cover most of the world’s ocean and surface freshwater bodies, and will have the capability to make observations with unprecedented resolution compared to existing technologies and will have the capability of measuring how water bodies change over time.

Along with existing altimetry datasets, simulated SWOT data sets are being planned to assess the quality and potential value of anticipated SWOT measurements to both oceanography and hydrology applications. With the surface water measurements anticipated from SWOT, a broad range of applications may inform coastal managers and marine operators of offshore conditions and currents relevant to their regions. One study proposed to the NASA ASP would highlight coastal and estuary applications potential of the future SWOT mission. This study would promote the use of remote sensing measurements to improve the understanding, monitoring and management of estuaries and deltas for a broad range of users. In addition, the AirSWOT airborne mission to demonstrate the wide swath technology of SWOT is providing preliminary data products in inland and coastal regions that may be useful for early assessment by users of the future value of SWOT.

NASA's Applied Sciences Program (ASP), along with the international SWOT project teams, is supporting a program that promotes applications research and engages a broad community of potential SWOT data users. The applied science community would be a key element in a successful SWOT mission, demonstrating the high value of NASA’s missions and the utility of science and data products in addressing societal issues and needs.