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Measuring Water from Space

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite is a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency. It will produce the first global survey of Earth’s surface water — and Pavelsky, a UNC-Chapel Hill researcher, is the freshwater science lead on the team. Surface water is essential for drinking and household use, agriculture, thermoelectric power, and numerous other industries. And SWOT can measure the height of all surface water to within 10 centimeters.

“SWOT is like a piñata we’ve whacked with a baseball bat and now all this candy is pouring out,” Pavelsky says, chuckling. “There are so many things we want to understand about Earth’s water that SWOT is going to enable — and scientists will be grabbing that candy for the next five years to figure out what it all means.”

To read the full article at UNC Research endeavors, click here!

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