TOPEX Outreach
TOPEX/POSEIDON Initial Science Results

Image is from Jet Propulsion Lab's Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center
Date of Image: October 10, 1994
Some initial science results from the mission which began in September of1992 are:

El Niño Definition

As depicted in the sea surface variability image below, a Kelvin wave spanning the entire length of the Pacific Basin can be seen impinging upon the coasts of Peru and Ecuador. There is an extremely large contrast (~.25 m) between the warm water footprint and the narrow depression north of the equator and paralleling the footprint. This indicates a rather sharp variation in sea surface temperatures between the two areas.

Global Sea Level

Current results indicate a global rise in sea level of less than 3 mm per year. However,researchers caution that this estimated rate may be associated with a short-term global sealevel variation unrelated to the long-term signal expected from global warming.

In conjunction with the World Climate Research Program, oceanographers are incorporating TOPEX/POSEIDON data into studies involved with the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the Tropical Oceans Global Atmospheric (TOGA) Experiment.

For current images of sea level height and information about the current El Niño event, please visit the TOPEX/POSEIDON Equatorial Pacific Sea Level Analysis web page.

Understanding Our Environment


Last Modified: Thu Aug 05, 1999