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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

NASA'S Topex/Poseidon Oceanography Mission Ends

via PRNewswire

"TOPEX/Poseidon was a unique mission that attracted users around the world, including more than 600 scientists in 54 countries," said Yves Menard, TOPEX/ Poseidon project scientist at Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales in Toulouse , France .

TOPEX/Poseidon's data have been the subject of more than 2,100 research publications; major science and application achievements include:

- the first decade-long global descriptions of seasonal and yearly ocean current changes - refined scientists' estimates of rising global sea level during the past decade - provided a new understanding of the role tides play in mixing the deep ocean - developed the most accurate ever global ocean tides' models - provided the first global data set to test ocean general circulation model performance - demonstrated global positioning system measurements in space could determine spacecraft positions with unprecedented accuracy, enabling rapid delivery of data

Jason, a follow-on oceanography mission launched in December 2001 , is continuing TOPEX/Poseidon's study of ocean circulation affects on the Earth's climate. Jason precisely maps the surface height, wind speed and wave height of 95 percent of Earth's ice-free oceans every 10 days. The data provide invaluable input for short-term weather forecasting, long-term climate forecasting and prediction models.

TOPEX/Poseidon's stellar performance allowed it to fly in tandem with Jason for nearly three years, doubling data collection. This allowed the study of smaller-scale ocean phenomena like coastal tides, ocean eddies and currents. It also improved understanding of how low-frequency ocean waves transmit signals of climate change.

Beyond Jason, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission is in development for a scheduled launch in 2008. It will continue providing high-precision seasurface height data to the oceanographic science community.

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