Only limited quantities of freshwater are available on our planet. In an era of climate change, it has become important to understand all the characteristics of freshwater. Climate change affects sea levels. The SWOT mission will allow for satellite monitoring of the world’s freshwater surface levels in the same way as sea levels. It will also make it possible to analyze the impacts of climate change.
Title of Project: The Surface Water Ocean Topography Mission (SWOT) program
City, Country: Worldwide
French partner submitting the project description: The French National Center for Space Studies (CNES)
Project Owner: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Prime Contractor: The French National Center for Space Studies (CNES)
Foreign partners: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA)
Dates of project: 2014-2020
General project description
The Surface Water & Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission brings together two communities focused on a better understanding of the world’s oceans and its terrestrial surface waters. U.S. and French oceanographers and hydrologists and international partners have joined forces to develop this new space mission to make the first global survey of Earth’s surface water, observe the fine details of the ocean’s surface topography, and measure how water bodies change over time
Founded in 1961, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) is the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe. Under its coordination, the main French laboratories involved in the SWOT program are CNRM
Strengths of project
The SWOT mission will provide, among other things, very accurate data on water levels. This recent program constitutes a major technological breakthrough in the field of space altimetry.
It helps to better understand the water cycle at the regional scale in order to support the sustainable management of water resources, to better manage inland navigation, to permit more accurate weather and climate forecasts and to better model flooding.