NASA set to conduct first global water survey from space


NASA’s SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography)

A NASA-led international satellite was launched from Southern California, on a major Earth science project to conduct a comprehensive survey of the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers for the first time.

Dubbed as SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography), shedding new light on the mechanics and consequences of climate change.

Falcon 9 rocket:

Operated by commercial launch company SpaceX.

Set to liftoff  to carry SWOT into orbit.

About SWOT:

An advanced SUV sized radar satellite.

Designed to give an unprecedented view of the life-giving fluid covering 70% of the planet.

The satellite will produce research data within several months.

SWOT incorporates advanced microwave radar technology.

NASA’s SWOT is designed to precisely measure fine differences in surface elevations around smaller currents and eddies.

The SWOT has 10 times greater resolution than existing technologies

The SWOT’s ability to discern smaller surface features: It will help study the impact of rising ocean levels on coastlines.

More precise data along tidal zones: It would help predict how far storm-surge flooding may penetrate inland

Focus areas of SWOT:

Major thrust of the mission is to explore how oceans absorb atmospheric heat.

Carbon dioxide in a natural process that moderates global temperatures and climate change.

Freshwater bodies are another key focus of the SWOT.

Equipped to observe the entire length of nearly all rivers wider than 330 feet and more than 1 million lakes and reservoirs larger than 15 acres. 

Importance of the Data from the satellite:

The data, compiled from radar sweeps of the planet at least twice every 21 days

It will enhance ocean-circulation models.

It will also bolster weather and climate forecasts and aid in managing scarce freshwater supplies in drought-stricken regions

Prelims Takeaways

NASA

Falcon-9

SWOT

SOURCE: THE HINDU

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