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The French-American satellite “SWOT” takes off on a new mission to monitor the movement of water on Earth


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The French-American satellite “SWOT” (SWOT) took off from the US state of California, Friday, December 16, 2022, on a mission that will provide unprecedented precision monitoring of the movement of water on the planet, providing a greater ability to forecast droughts and floods around the world in light of their exacerbation by Climate change.

Salma Cherchali of the French National Center for Space Studies said during a press conference on Tuesday that this satellite represents a “revolution in the field of hydrology,” explaining that its monitoring results will be “ten times more accurate than those provided by current technology.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Base in California at 11:46 GMT, carrying this satellite.

It is expected that the scientific mission of “SWOT”, whose name consists of the first letters of the phrase “topography of surface waters and oceans” in English, will begin after six months during which it will undergo tests and calibrations, provided that the data it collects is made available on the Internet so that everyone can see it.

From the location of this satellite at an altitude of 890 km, it will be possible to monitor the live water cycles in lakes, rivers and oceans around the world, and monitor the interaction through the atmosphere, between the huge reservoirs represented in the oceans, and the water flowing on the ground.

The moon will be able to measure the height of the oceans and these freshwater masses on more than 90 percent of the planet’s surface, as it conducts a full survey of them at least once every 21 days.

Whereas previously only a few thousand lakes could be observed from space, SWOT will be able to monitor millions of them.

It will also be able to monitor rivers more than 100 meters wide and calculate the volume of water flowing into them.

As for the oceans, the satellite has the ability to monitor currents and hurricanes that were not previously possible to see. And on the coasts, he will be able to observe the land receding caused by the rising water level.

NASA’s planet-monitoring director, Karen St. Germain, explained that SWOT is distinguished from about 25 other NASA planet-monitoring missions in that it is more like “putting on glasses” for a better view.

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