Margaret M Srinivasan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States, Gary N Geller, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States and Adeline Gicquel, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Applied Science System Engineering, Pasadena, United States
A time series of over 27 years of measurements from the U.S. and European Ocean Surface Topography (OST) satellite altimeter missions began in 1992. Technologies developed for the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-series satellites (Jason-1, OSTM/Jason-2, and Jason-3) by NASA, CNES and other U.S. and international partners have allowed continuous and precise measurement of OST—the "hills and valleys" of the ocean surface—and to reveal changes in sea level at regional and global scales. This information is used by science and operational organizations to understand ocean dynamics and to derive critical important information about the climate implications of a warming world.

Future missions in development—Jason-CS/Sentinel-6 and Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT)—willprovide a continuous record of consistent and calibrated OST data into the next decade. The applied science community for these assets continues to expand. An effort is underway by NASA and partners to advance awareness of the utility of these satellite data time series and to expand the user base. Societal benefits from these missions include weather prediction, coastal impacts (storm surge, coastal currents), fisheries management, ecosystem functioning, marine transport, sea level rise (and related disaster risk management), flooding, and coastal impacts from ocean and surface water changes, among many others. Identifying existing and potential uses of the data in operational, scientific, and other realms helps its value to be communicated to decision makers, scientific and operational entities. These uses can help to improve processes and to better understand the implications of ocean changes for both global and regional impacts.