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Portland State NASA grant furthers satellite ocean research
Author: John Kirkland
Posted: July 10, 2017

NASA has awarded a four-year, $283,000 grant to Portland State University engineering professor Ed Zaron to continue his research on tides and sub-surface ocean waves using satellite data. The work is particularly important to climate scientists in their efforts to measure sea level rise, a major symptom of global warming. 

This is the latest in a series of NASA grants awarded to Zaron, who has specialized in this field of study for the last 15 years. The work is part of a multinational effort to observe the world’s oceans from space. Zaron said satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,500 kilometers can detect minute tidal changes and variations in ocean volume much more accurately than can be observed on Earth.

Zaron’s role will be data analysis. His work is important to climate scientists because it provides data that can be factored out from a wide array of other planetary measurements, bringing information that is linked to global warming into sharper focus.

Zaron said the grant comes at a time when the newest satellites are providing information with unprecedented accuracy. In the future the data may be able to forecast ocean conditions in a way that could help shipping companies plan their routes, he said.