The Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission was recommended in 2007 by the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey, “Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond”, for implementation by NASA. The SWOT mission is a partnership between two communities, the physical oceanography and the hydrology, to share high vertical accuracy and high spatial resolution topography data produced by the science payload, principally a Ka-band radar Interferometer (KaRIn). The SWOT payload also includes a precision orbit determination system consisting of GPS and DORIS receivers, a Laser Retro-reflector Assembly (LRA), a Jason-class nadir radar altimeter, and a JASON-class radiometer for tropospheric path delay corrections. The SWOT mission will provide large-scale data sets of ocean sea-surface height resolving scales of 15km and larger, allowing the characterization of ocean mesoscale and submesoscale circulation. The SWOT mission will also provide measurements of water storage changes in terrestrial surface water bodies and estimates of discharge in large (wider than 100m) rivers globally. The SWOT measurements will provide a key complement to other NASA spaceborne global measurements of the water cycle measurements by directly measuring the surface water (lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and wetlands) component of the water cycle. The SWOT mission is an international partnership between NASA and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is also expected to contribute to the mission. SWOT is currently nearing entry to Formulation (Phase A). Its launch is targeted for October 2020.
Over the last two decades, several nadir profiling radar altimeters have provided our first global look at the ocean basinscale
circulation and the ocean mesoscale at wavelengths longer than 100 km. Due to sampling limitations, nadir
altimetry is unable to resolve the small wavelength ocean mesoscale and sub-mesoscale that are responsible for the
vertical mixing of ocean heat and gases and the dissipation of kinetic energy from large to small scales. The Surface
Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission being considered by NASA has as one of its main goals the
measurement of ocean topography with kilometer-scale spatial resolution and centimeter scale accuracy. In this paper,
we provide an overview of all error sources that contribute to the SWOT mission for the ocean. This paper is a sequel to
an earlier paper describing the SWOT mission, the science and its payload.
We propose to apply the technique of synthetic aperture radar interferometry to the measurement of ocean surface topography at spatial resolution approaching 1 km. The measurement will have wide ranging applications in oceanography, hydrology, and marine geophysics. The oceanographic and related societal applications are briefly discussed in the paper. To meet the requirements for oceanographic applications, the instrument must be flown in an orbit with proper sampling of ocean tides.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Ocean Remote Sensing and Imaging II
5 August 2003 | San Diego, California, United States