News

NASA’s S-MODE Takes to the Air and Sea to Study Ocean Eddies

After being delayed over a year due to the pandemic, a NASA field campaign to study the role of small-scale whirlpools and ocean currents in climate c...

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S-MODE Conducts Field Campaign in Southern California

After a 13-month delay to the start of science operations due to COVID-19, the Submesoscale Ocean Dynamics and Vertical Transport Experiment (S-MODE) ...

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NASA embarks on five US expeditions targeting air, land and sea

NASA is sending five airborne campaigns across the United States in 2020 to investigate fundamental processes that ultimately impact human lives and t...

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/nasa-embarks-on-us-cross-country-exped…

JPL Airborne Mission Is One of Five New Earth Ventures

Five new NASA Earth science campaigns, including one from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will take to the field starting in...

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7247

New Airborne Campaigns to Explore Snowstorms, River Deltas,...

Five new NASA Earth science campaigns will take to the field starting in 2020 to investigate a range of pressing research questions, from what drives ...

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/new-airborne-campaigns-to-explore-snowstorms-…

New Technology Doubles Scientists’ View of Ocean-Air Interactions

NASA scientists are hard at work trying to unlock mysteries of our planet’s ocean surface currents and winds using a new Earth science radar instrum...

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/feature/dopplerscatt.html

S-MODE

Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment

Mission Overview

A major difficulty in simulating Earth’s climate system is that there are interactions across scales, so that the large time and space scales can be sensitive to processes on small scales. As the computational resolution of global ocean models has improved, scientists have begun to suspect that kilometer-scale eddies and fronts, called “submesoscale” variability, have a net effect on ocean-atmosphere heat exchange that is larger than the heating from the greenhouse effect (Su et al. 2018). State-of-the-art computer models agree in predicting that these eddies have important long-term effects on the upper-ocean, but their predictions are sensitive to relatively small details in model physics and implementation. The resolution and detail of these simulations has surpassed our ability to ‘ground truth’ them with spaceborne or in situ sensors. There is thus a pressing need for a comprehensive benchmark data set on these submesoscale motions to address this important source of uncertainty in simulating the global ocean.

This mission will test the hypothesis that submesoscale ocean dynamics make important contributions to vertical exchange of climate and biological variables in the upper ocean. This will require coordinated application of newly-developed in situ and remote sensing techniques, and it will provide an unprecedented view of the physics of submesoscale eddies and fronts and their effects on vertical transport in the upper ocean. The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) will use measurements from a novel combination of platforms and instruments, along with data analysis and modeling, to test the hypothesis. 


Principal Investigator: J. Tom Farrar (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Science Investigation Manager: Paul Matthias (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Deputy PI for Science Data Analysis: Eric D'Asaro (University of Washington)
Deputy PI for In Situ Measurements: Andrey Shcherbina (University of Washington)
Deputy PI for Aircraft Measurements: Ernesto Rodriguez (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
EVS-3 Program Executive: Bruce Tagg (NASA Headquarters)
Program Scientist - Physical Oceanography Program: Nadya Vinogradova-Shiffer (NASA Headquarters)
EVS-3 Program Manager: Gregory Stover (NASA Langley Research Center)
EVS-3 Mission Manager: Melissa Yang Martin (NASA Langley Research Center)
S-MODE Project Manager: Erin Czech (NASA Ames Research Center)
S-MODE Deputy Project Manager: Sommer Nicholas (NASA Ames Research Center)