Where's Water? Tropical Pacific From El Niño to sea level rise... SWOT has it covered

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will help us better understand our planet... pretty much anywhere!

El Niño begins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
But it can spread over a large area, affecting weather big time! Some regions get wetter and others drier.

This is because weather depends a lot on ocean temperature. Where the ocean is warm, more clouds form, and more rain falls.

El Niño events dramatically change the tropical Pacific Ocean. Water expands as it warms, causing the ocean surface to rise.

During El Niño events, weak winds let warm seawater travel east along the equator. This can increase storminess in places such as southern California.

El Niño's storms can increase the runoff of pollution and beach erosion in some areas.

El Niño impacts can reach well beyond the Pacific Ocean. The 2015-2016 helped trigger disease outbreaks in regions across the globe!

El Niño is not the only climate-related challenge in this part of the tropical Pacific... there's also sea level rise.

Exploring exotic French Polynesia is on many people's "bucket list." But one day, it may be impossible to visit some of these South Pacific islands.

Stretching over 1,200 miles, many of its 118 islands are just above sea level.

One study predicts that over 30% of French Polynesia will be lost to rising sea level by the end of this century.

How will SWOT help us understand the tropical Pacific & beyond?

SWOT will provide detailed information about the currents in the tropical Pacific Ocean, where El Niño events occur.

SWOT will also join other satellites tracking global sea level rise, which threatens many low-lying islands in the South Pacific.

Where There's Water... There's SWOT!

Launch Date: 2021
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Altitude in orbit: 857 km (532.5 mi)
Swath: 120 km (75 mi) wide
Coverage: 77.6°N to 77.6°S with an average revisit time of 11 days
Partners: NASA and Centre National D'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and United Kingdom Space Agency

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