Where's Water? Amazon From the headwaters to the coast... SWOT has it covered

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

Scientists have studied over 100 years of Amazon River water level records.
Extreme floods – with water levels over 95 feet – used to occur every 20 years or so. Lately, extreme floods occur about every 4 years.

The Amazon's floodplains normally support rich agriculture and livestock.

Cattle ranching is one of the key drivers of deforestation in the Amazon Basin. This movie shows how deforestation has changed the region over time. The first clearings that appear in the forest are in a fishbone pattern. Over time, the fishbones collapse into a mixture of forest remnants, cleared areas, and settlements.

prolonged, severe flooding of the amazon river destroys crops and pastures. Flooding can foul drinking water and keep people from their homes for weeks.

Changing water levels also affect the river's diverse wildlife.

Amazon River crocodiles, known as "caiman," are efficient predators. One of their most common prey? capybaras.

Found over much of south america, Capybaras are the world's largest rodents.

Adult capybaras can grow over 4 feet long and weigh over 140 pounds!

These superb swimmers can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes. Swimming helps them avoid land-based predators such as jaguars, pumas, and ocelots.


More water flows from the Amazon to the sea than any other river on Earth.

where the amazon meets the sea, brazil's coast features exotic flora, fauna & landscapes.

Much of Brazil's coast has mangrove habitats. Their root systems trap sediments, helping to stabilize the coastline.
The scarlet ibis – an endangered species of bird known for its bright red color – also lives here.
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is known for its white sand dunes. Freshwater lagoons appear during the rainy season.
How will SWOT help us understand the Amazon & beyond?

SWOT will reveal the Amazon River's complex flow. This is very important for areas that are difficult to access by land.


SWOT may also help assess water levels in coastal wetlands such as mangrove forests.

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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