Engaging the user community for advancing societal applications of the Surface Water Ocean Topography mission

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
By: , and 



Scheduled for launch in 2021, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will be a truly unique mission that will provide high-temporal-frequency maps of surface water extents and elevation variations of global water bodies (lakes/reservoirs, rivers, estuaries, oceans, and sea ice) at higher spatial resolution than is available with current technologies (Biancamaria et al. 2016; Alsdorf et al. 2007). The primary instrument on SWOT is based on a Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIN), which uses radar interferometery technology. The satellite will fly two radar antennas at either end of a 10-m (33 ft) mast, allowing it to measure the elevation of the surface along a 120-km (75 mi)-wide swath below. The availability of high-frequency and high-resolution maps of elevations and extents for surface water bodies and oceans will present unique opportunities to address numerous societally relevant challenges around the globe (Srinivasan et al. 2015). These opportunities may include such diverse and far-ranging applications as fisheries management, flood inundation mapping/risk mitigation/forecasting, wildlife conservation, global data assimilation for improving forecast of ocean tides and weather, reservoir management, climate change impacts and adaptation, and river discharge estimation, among others.

Although SWOT is a research mission and not scheduled for launch for another 4 years, there is a need to build engagement within the application community now and to explore how best to advance the societal relevance and benefits of the SWOT mission from concept to reality. The SWOT Applications Working Group organized a workshop on 5–6 April 2017 at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, Virginia. The goal of the workshop was to understand and communicate how the applications community can use SWOT data to address problems of profound societal relevance.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Engaging the user community for advancing societal applications of the Surface Water Ocean Topography mission
Series title Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
DOI 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0161.1
Volume November 2017
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Contributing office(s) Office of Surface Water
Description 6 p.
First page 285
Last page 290
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