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Societal Benefits of Ocean Altimetry Data

Margaret Srinivasan(1) and Robert Leben(2)

(1) NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena 91109, United States
(2) University of Colorado, 431 UCB, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0431, United States


The NASA/CNES Jason-1 satellite, follow-on to the highly successful TOPEX/Poseidon mission, continues to provide oceanographers and marine operators across the globe with a continuous thirteen-year, high quality stream of sea surface height data. This unprecedented resource of valuable ocean data is being used to map sea surface height, geostrophic velocity, significant wave height, and wind speed over the global oceans. Altimeter data products are currently used by hundreds of researchers and operational users to monitor ocean circulation and improve our understanding of the role of the oceans in climate and weather. In addition to the scientific research applications, ocean altimeter data has many societal benefits and has proven invaluable in many practical applications including; • ocean forecasting systems, • climate forecasting, • ship routing, • oil production operations, • marine mammal habitat monitoring, and • hurricane forecasting and tracking.

The data has been cited in over 2,000 research and popular articles since the launch of TOPEX/Poseidon in 1992. In addition to the scientific and operational uses of the data, the educational community has seized the unique concepts highlighted by these altimeter missions as a resource for teaching ocean science to students from grade school through college. This presentation will highlight the wide variety of societal benefits of ocean altimetry data.


Workshop presentation

Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03