Ocean Physics at NASA
SWOT Launching Dec. 15
NASA, CNES, and SpaceX are now targeting Thursday Dec. 15 for the launch of SWOT
NASA Study: Rising Sea Level Approaching 1 ft
New results show average sea level rise approaching the 1-foot mark for most coastlines of the contiguous U.S. by 2050.
How SWOT will help our water communities
SWOT will measure water heights in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and the ocean, which can help with flood forecasting, resource management, and more.
SWOT Arrives at Launch Site
International surface water mission arrives at Vandenberg for launch
SASSIE Takes Over Twitter
This week NASA Expeditions is tagging along with the SASSIE field campaign to the Beaufort Sea. The goal? To understand how salinity might predict Arctic sea ice formation and advance.
NASA’s S-MODE Field Campaign Deploys to the Pacific Ocean
S-MODE is off the coast of San Francisco to improve our understanding of how the ocean moves, and how ocean and atmosphere communicate and affect each other.
COWVR and TEMPEST Image Hurricane Ian
COWVR captured images of Hurricane Ian as it made landfall on Cuba, on its way to Florida.
Jump to: About | Science and Research | Missions | Data | Partnerships | Contacts
The ocean plays a fundamental role in the Earth’s system. It shapes our planet’s climate and weather by absorbing, storing, and transporting large quantities of heat, water, moisture, and carbon dioxide. NASA’s Physical Oceanography (PO) program enables research that advances our understanding of the ocean’s role in climate. Our scientists utilize NASA satellite and sub-orbital data, climate models and data science to study ocean dynamics, sea level rise, hydrological cycle, and ocean interactions within the Earth system.
To join us and become a NASA scientist, apply to one of current NASA research opportunities.
Science and Research
NASA’s Physical Oceanography program directs multiple competitively-selected NASA’s Science Teams that study the physics of the oceans. Below are details about each science team.
Sea Level Change (N-SLCT)
Ocean Surface Topography (OSTST)
Ocean Surface Salinity (OSST)
Ocean Vector Winds (OVWST)
Sea Surface Temperature (SST)
PO program provides scientific leadership on the following missions:
Currently taking measurements
Salinity And Stratification at the Sea Ice Edge (SASSIE)
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich/Jason-CS
Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE)
Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)
Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR)
Past missions providing data for current research
Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG)
2012-2013 & 2016-2017
Access the Data
The Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC) preserves NASA's ocean and climate open data and makes these universally accessible and meaningful.
PO program actively engages in the following national and international partnerships that work together to sustain and enhance the Earth observing system.
US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
NASA-ESA Earth Science Joint Program Planning Group