NASA SWOT satellite will monitor the movement of all surface water on Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It is supposed to put into orbit the satellite of NASA and the French space agency CNES – Surface Water and Ocean Topography or SWOT.

The satellite will make it possible to explore almost all surface waters on Earth. Researchers will be able to measure the volume and speed of water movement in every ocean, river, lake and even stream on the entire planet.

Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It is supposed to launch NASA and the French space agency CNES – Surface Water and Ocean Topography, or SWOT, into orbit at an altitude of 890 km.

The satellite will make it possible to explore almost all surface waters on Earth. Researchers will be able to measure the volume and speed of water movement in every ocean, river, lake and even stream on the entire planet.

NASA SWOT satellite will monitor the movement of all surface water on Earth 2
Launch vehicle undocking at 3 minutes

All water on earth

SWOT is designed to monitor the planet’s water with unprecedented accuracy and frequency, transmitting a wealth of data that will help scientists predict floods, droughts and sea level rise.

Scientists say the $1.2 billion mission could change our understanding of water on Earth as dramatically as the microscope has changed our understanding of the human body.

“The possibilities are so endless that I almost don’t know where to start,” said Tamlin Pavelski, a hydrologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the mission’s science director for hydrology.

Previous satellites controlled either the oceans or freshwater bodies. SWOT will be the first to be able to watch everything at once. But all the water on Earth is interconnected.

The mission is a collaboration between oceanography and hydrology, two related scientific disciplines that are often separate.

NASA SWOT satellite will monitor the movement of all surface water on Earth 3
SWOT in orbit

“The whole water cycle is really important for understanding how climate change affects processes on the Earth’s surface and not just water transport, but heat distribution,” said Patrick Barnard, director of research for the Pacific Coastal and Marine Division of the US Geological Survey. Center in Santa Cruz.

The satellite’s primary instrument is the Ka-band radar interferometer, or KaRIn. The satellite sends out radio waves and KaRIn records how much of that energy is returned to the satellite and how long it takes for it to arrive.

Combined with other measurements, these echoes tell the satellite if it detects water and the height of that water’s surface.

Once all instruments are fully deployed, SWOT will survey everything between the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica at least once every 21 days. The initial mission will last three years.

In terms of freshwater, SWOT will provide the first comprehensive study of the planet’s network of rivers, lakes and streams, which are too numerous and often too remote to be constantly tracked from Earth.

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