Ocean Physics at NASA
Happy 30th Anniversary to TOPEX/Poseidon!
TOPEX/Poseidon launched August 10, 1992. It was the first of several highly-accurate mission to measure sea level from space.
NASA Sea-level Team Talks Partnership, Collaboration in 3-day Meeting
NASA scientists discuss contributions and predictions of sea level. Met with local stakeholders to see what information is most needed.
SASSIE Cruise Planning
SASSIE team plans for first field campaign to better understand salinity’s role on sea ice formation.
International Sea Level Satellite Takes Over From Predecessor
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, the newest addition to a long line of ocean-monitoring satellites, becomes the reference satellite for sea level measurements.
Interagency Sea Level Tool
A new interagency sea level rise scenario tool is available from NASA’s sea level portal.
New NASA and Interagency Sea Level Report
Sea Level to Rise up to a Foot by 2050, Interagency Report Finds
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