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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
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Celebrate World Ocean Day June 8th
June 01, 2009

World Oceans Day logo
Ever since a "World Ocean Day" concept was first proposed in 1992, many organizations around the world have used June 8th as an annual opportunity to celebrate the ocean in support of education and conservation of this critical resource.

Thanks to a global community effort, as of 2009, the United Nations officially designates June 8th as World Oceans Day. The goal is to highlight the many ways in which the ocean contributes to society and raise awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the ocean.

The JPL Ocean Surface Topography (OST) outreach program joins with the world ocean community to advance public understanding of the ocean, including features such as ocean circulation and events like the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO encompasses the El Niño and La Niña phenomena, which occur in the Pacific Ocean basin.

Sea surface heights measured by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite during 1997 and 1998
Sea surface heights measured by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite during 1997 and 1998 When viewed from varying angles, the 4- inch by 6-inch card displays four superimposed images

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA satellite radar altimeters measure differences in sea surface heights. As water heats, it expands -- so warmer water is higher than colder water. El Niño events bring warmer water to the Eastern Pacific, while La Niñas bring colder water. These differences in the Pacific can affect weather conditions worldwide.

The OST outreach team has produced a 4-inch by 6-inch card that shows changes in sea surface heights measured by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite during 1997 and 1998. When viewed from varying angles, it shows the differences in sea surface height occurring during warmer, higher El Niño conditions, and colder, lower La Niña conditions.

In celebration of World Ocean Day, limited copies of the "Topex Lenticular Card" are available until June 30th, 2009. For more information, contact Annie Richardson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

We invite you to learn more about NASA's ocean satellite altimetry program and encourage you to celebrate World Ocean Day by participating in one of many events taking place this month around the world.

Links:
Ocean Surface Topography from Space
The Ocean Project
2009 World Oceans Day Events
Ocean Literacy Network

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