UMD Professor Working with NASA

DULUTH, Minn.–There was a rocket lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Friday morning, it was carrying the first satellite dedicated to observing nearly all the water on the earth’s surface. An associate professor at UMD has been working with NASA leading up to the launch.

Sam Kelly, an associate professor in the Large Water Observatory program at UMD, got involved with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography or SWOT satellite project. He realized that no one at SWOT was looking at the Great Lakes, which he has been studying.

“There are a lot of hydrologists, people who are interested in small lakes and oceanographers, the people who are interested in the currents out in the ocean. said Kelly. “But, no one was really talking about the Great Lakes.  I suggested that we could use a lot of the same tools being using over the oceans, over the Great Lakes.  The NASA Program Manager thought that was a good idea. So, the next couple of years I’ll be working to apply some of the oceanographic techniques to the Great Lake for the first time. We should be able to map currents in the Great Lakes.”

The SWOT mission is designed to study how much water flows into and out of Earth’s Freshwater bodies. This will provide insight into what is the oceans role in how climate change happens.

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