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by SWOT last modified May 05, 2015 10:54 AM

Mission goals for Science


Oceanography : Characterize meso-scale and sub meso-scale circulation with a 10 km space resolution or best.

Hydrology : make a complete inventory of continental waters areas greater than 250 km2 (natural lakes, reservoirs, wetlands) as well as rivers with a width greater than 100 m (ultimate goal 50 m).



SWOT measurements

Preparatory Science Investigation

Whatever the thematic is, data simulation is a necessary step.


► Concerning OceanographyConcerning Hydrology

With SWOT water level measurements will be absolutely new, and different from those of the now
classical space missions as JASONs .

  • Very high resolution models will allow identification of physical process observable with SWOT, taking into account the orbit design.
  • Measurement errors impacts (interferometric phase error, roll errors, atmospheric correction errors …) concerning water level signal restitution has to be evaluate.
  • High resolution data assimilation in present oceanographic models has to be studied.

Expected observation quality has to be evaluated :

  • Determining minimal observable size for rivers and lakes
  • Characterizing errors due to time sampling
  • Characterizing errors for derivates products : flows and water stocks variability (order of magnitude and causes)

We also have to evaluate SWOT mission contribution to Hydrology modelizing an equatorial river , Amazon,  a temperate river, an artic river, Ob (see Biancamaria_SM_Ob.pdf)


CNES is funding these studies in a program called TOSCA. Main French laboratories involved are LEGOS, lFREMER, LMD, LOCEAN and CLS.

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