Engaging the Applications Community of the future Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mission
- 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
- 2CNES, Toulouse, France
- 3University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
- 4MSU Science and Technology Center, Stennis Space Center, LA, USA
- 5Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
- 6University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
- 7Remote Sensing Solutions, Pasadena, CA, USA
- 8NASA, Washington D.C., USA
Keywords: Applications, Hydrology, Oceanography, Operational, SWOT
Abstract. NASA and the French space agency, CNES, with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) are developing new wide swath altimetry technology that will cover most of the world’s ocean and surface freshwater bodies. The proposed Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will have the capability to make observations of surface water (lakes, rivers, wetland) heights and measurements of ocean surface topography with unprecedented spatial coverage, temporal sampling, and spatial resolution compared to existing technologies. These data will be useful for monitoring the hydrologic cycle, flooding, and characterizing human impacts on a changing environment.
The applied science community is a key element in the success of the SWOT mission, demonstrating the high value of the science and data products in addressing societal issues and needs. The SWOT applications framework includes a working group made up of applications specialists, SWOT science team members, academics and SWOT Project members to promote applications research and engage a broad community of potential SWOT data users. A defined plan and a guide describing a program to engage early adopters in using proxies for SWOT data, including sophisticated ocean and hydrology simulators, an airborne analogue for SWOT (AirSWOT), and existing satellite datasets, are cornerstones for the program. A user survey is in development and the first user workshop was held in 2015, with annual workshops planned.
The anticipated science and engineering advances that SWOT will provide can be transformed into valuable services to decision makers and civic organizations focused on addressing global disaster risk reduction initiatives and potential science-based mitigation activities for water resources challenges of the future. With the surface water measurements anticipated from SWOT, a broad range of applications can inform inland and coastal managers and marine operators of terrestrial and oceanic phenomena relevant to their work.