GPM Applications: Weather

Using GPM Data for Weather, Climate, and Land Surface Modeling

Using GPM Data for Weather, Climate, and Land Surface Modeling

Variations in rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation are an integral part in everyday weather and long term climate trends. Initialization of short-term weather and long-term climate models with accurate precipitation information enhances their prediction skills and extends their skillful lead times. To get the resolution and temporal coverage to measure precipitation across the globe, we often rely on satellite information. Satellite data can play a fundamental role in our ability to monitor and predict weather systems as well as to forecast future changes to our climate and land surface. Satellite data from GPM’s suite of precipitation products are integrated into numerical weather prediction models that are operated by operational partners to provide and improve the observations from which the forecasts are then generated. Similarly, climate and land surface models use satellite precipitation observations from GPM to describe the conditions that exist today in order to project how conditions may change in the future. The Weather, Climate, and Land Surface Modeling applications area promotes the use of GPM data to help monitor existing weather activity and model future behavior of precipitation patterns and climate.

Overview

Variations in rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation are an integral part in everyday weather and long term climate trends. Initialization of short-term weather and long-term climate models with accurate precipitation information enhances their prediction skills and extends their skillful lead times. To get the resolution and temporal coverage to measure precipitation across the globe, we often rely on satellite information. Satellite data can play a fundamental role in our ability to monitor and predict weather systems as well as to forecast future changes to our climate and land surface. Satellite data from GPM’s suite of precipitation products are integrated into numerical weather prediction models that are operated by operational partners to provide and improve the observations from which the forecasts are then generated. Similarly, climate and land surface models use satellite precipitation observations from GPM to describe the conditions that exist today in order to project how conditions may change in the future. The Weather, Climate, and Land Surface Modeling applications area promotes the use of GPM data to help monitor existing weather activity and model future behavior of precipitation patterns and climate.

Sections

GPM Data for Decision Making

Image

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issues extended range outlook maps for 6-10 days in the future. The above figure shows a 6-10 forecast of precipitation probability for the first week of October 2018. This product complements short-range weather forecasts issued by other components of the National Weather Service. Credit: NOAA/NCEP/CPC
 

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is the use of computer models to predict upcoming weather. Specifically, NWP centers rely on microwave-based satellite rainfall information, such as data retrieved from GPM’s GMI, to improve short- to long-term weather forecasts and correct track forecasts for tropical cyclones. In addition, NWP centers create precipitation products for “nowcasting” weather in the immediate 1-5 hours (e.g. using near-real-time rainfall data from GPM) to meet the needs of a wider user community, including weather forecasters, hydrologists, farmers, numerical modelers, the military and the climate community. Methods for integrating rainfall data are constantly evolving and advancing, and with GPM’s advanced instruments, scientists can influence and enhance their scientific research and benefit socioeconomic activities.

Image

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Seasonal Forecast of precipitation probability. Percent probability is determined by using the predictive anomaly relative to 24 years of observed precipitation from 1993-2016. Credit: European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast
 

To understand the changing climate and make future climate predictions, scientists need to use sophisticated computer models to recreate Earth’s climate conditions. Understanding current rainfall and snowfall variability, among other climate factors on regional and global scales, helps scientists model future behavior of precipitation patterns and climate. But for a system as complicated as the Earth, the models are only as good as the data provided. Satellite precipitation measurements from GPM and its predecessor TRMM provide global scale observational data sets that are comprehensive and consistent over long time periods, two characteristics scientists need to understand the relationships between different parts of the climate system. Specifically, organizations use GPM and TRMM data as input to verify and validate their seasonal and climate model simulations. The ultimate goal is to be able to predict changes in climate on time scales as short as the next hurricane season and as far into the future as changes that may occur in the coming decades or centuries. 

Image

Climate change may lead to an increase in temperatures and a decrease in snowpack within the Absaroka Range, found at the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park. Credit: National Park Service/Neal Herbert
 

Precipitation is the fundamental driver of land surface hydrological processes and a key component of the terrestrial water cycle, which in turn affects the functioning of atmospheric and climate processes. High-resolution modeling of land surface hydrological processes requires detailed rainfall estimates as inputs to improve understanding of the state of the water cycle and impacts on land-surface processes during extreme events. Satellite precipitation data from GPM is integrated into land surface models to study surface features and how they change due to manmade and natural conditions such as urbanization and erosion. The use of GPM precipitation data together with other satellite data including soil moisture within land surface models will improve weather and hydrological prediction, which will help city planners and even decision makers save lives. 

Weather & Climate Featured Resources

Jump to a Year

2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

GPM Observes Hot Tower in Florida Squall Line

At 9:26pm on Sunday April 19, 2020, NASA's GPM satellite observed an extremely vigorous convective storm cell embedded within a squall line that had produced tornadoes earlier that evening along the US Gulf Coast. NASA's GPM satellite flew over the portion of this squall line that extended over the Atlantic Ocean, 350 miles (500 kilometers) east of Florida's Coast. The Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) observed a storm cell whose updrafts were strong enough to lift small ice particles into the stratosphere 15.8 km above the ocean surface. Equally remarkable is that the updrafts were

GPM IMERG Observes Rainfall from Tornado-spawning Storms in the Southern U.S.

Download video (right-click -> Save As). Credit: Jason West (KBR / NASA GSFC) From Sunday, April 12th, 2020 into Monday the 13th, a series of powerful thunderstorms developed across the southern U.S., bringing heavy rainfall and spawning several destructive tornadoes. This animation shows rainfall estimates for the region for April 11th - 13th derived from NASA's Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data product, along with NOAA tornado reports (red triangles).
GPM Overpass of Cyclone Harold from April 6th, 2020
Video credit: Greg Shirah, Kel Elkins, Alex Kekesi (NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio). For more information or to download this public domain video, go to: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4812#29226 A Category 4 cyclone, the most powerful yet of 2020, made landfall on the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Monday, not long before this GPM overpass from April 6th, 2020 at 1:41 UTC. Tropical Cyclone Harold developed from a low pressure system that was observed to the east of Papua New Guinea last week, and has tracked to the southeast, where it has already caused flooding and loss of life...

GPM Measures Heavy Rainfall from "The Dragon" Cyclonic Storm System in the Middle East

GPM observed the early stages of a strong cyclonic system that developed over northern Africa just off the southern Mediterranean coast on March 11, 2020. The GMI measured heavy rain rates over some parts of Egypt, including the region around Cairo. View fullscreen By March 12, 2020, the cyclonic system that developed over northern Africa had intensified and was nicknamed 'The Dragon' on social media and news outlets, as it caused severe flooding in northern Egypt. Both the GMI and the DPR measured heavy rain rates across two of the storm's bands in this GPM overflight. View fullscreen On

GPM Views Southeast Snowstorm

On February 20th and 21st, 2020, a winter storm brought the seasons largest snowfall to much of North Carolina and southern Virginia. The highest snow totals of 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) were located in northeast NC and southeast VA. GPM's radar captured captured the reflectivities shown in this cross-section as it flew over the snow storm on February 20th, with snow and frozen precipitation shown in blue and purple and rain shown in green and yellow. The melting layer marks the transition from snow to rain and slopes upward 2-3 km from central NC to the coast. These raw reflectivity measurements
Typhoon Hagibis Brings Heavy Rains to Japan
Typhoon Hagibis, a once powerful super typhoon, struck the main Japanese island of Honshu over the weekend, bringing very heavy rains and widespread flooding. Hagibis formed into a tropical storm on the 5th of October from a tropical depression that originated from a westward moving tropical wave north of the Marshall Islands. At first, Hagibis strengthened steadily becoming a typhoon about 24 hours after becoming a tropical storm. But, then on the 7th, Hagibis underwent a remarkable rapid intensification cycle and quickly intensified into a super typhoon with sustained winds estimated at 160 mph by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) less than 24 hours after becoming a minimal typhoon.
GPM observes Hurricane Dorian lashing Florida
Download in high resolution from the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio GPM captured Dorian at 10:41 UTC (6:41 am EDT) on the 4th of September when the storm was moving north-northwest parallel to the coast of Florida about 90 miles due east of Daytona Beach. Three days earlier, Dorian had struck the northern Bahamas as one of the most powerful Category 5 hurricanes on record in the Atlantic with sustained winds of 185 mph. Weakening steering currents allowed the powerful storm to ravage the northern Bahamas for 2 full days. During this time, Dorian began to weaken due to its...
GPM Observes Hurricane Dorian Over Bahamas
Download in high resolution from the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio. The NASA / JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory flew over Hurricane Dorian on September 1st (5:22pm ET / 21:22 UTC) as the storm was directly over Abaco Island in The Bahamas. The satellite captured data on rainfall rates within the storm as it flew over using its Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and GPM Microwave Imager (GMI). In this animation the multi-satellite GPM IMERG product is shown first to illustrate rainfall rates prior to the overpass. When the camera zooms in data...
Hurricane Dorian Brings Heavy Rain to Bahamas
In addition to the powerful winds that have raked the northern Bahamas over the past few days, Hurricane Dorian’s slow motion has brought very heavy rainfall to the islands as well. Dorian first formed into a tropical depression on the 24th of August about 800 miles east southeast of Barbados in the Lesser Antilles from an area of low pressure; the depression was quickly upgraded to a minimal tropical storm and named Dorian by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) later in the day. As Dorian made its way westward under the influence of a high pressure ridge to the north, it was held in check...
IMERG Measures Rainfall in Hurricane Dorian
UPDATE 9/9/19: On Monday morning, September 9, Hurricane Dorian was a post-tropical storm after a mid-latitude weather front and cold seas had altered its tropical characteristics over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, Hurricane Dorian struck eastern Canada, causing wind damage and bringing heavy rainfall. According to the Associated Press, a peak of 400,000 people were without power in Nova Scotia, Canada, because of Dorian. This graphic shows precipitation that fell during the almost two-week period from August 27 to the early hours of September 9. The near-realtime rain estimates come...

The most detailed view of our daily weather has been created using NASA's newest extended precipitation record known as the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG analysis. The IMERG analysis combines almost 20 years of rain and snow data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the joint NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM). The daily cycle of weather, also known as the diurnal cycle, shapes how and when our weather develops and is fundamental to regulating our climate.

Music Credits: "Battle For Our Future" and "Wonderful Orbit" by Tom...

NASA engineer Manuel Vega can see one of the Olympic ski jump towers from the rooftop of the South Korean weather office where he is stationed. Vega is not watching skiers take flight, preparing for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympic games. Instead, he’s inspecting the SUV-sized radar beside him. The instrument is one 11 NASA instruments specially transported to the Olympics to measure the quantity and type of snow falling on the slopes, tracks and halfpipes. NASA will make these observations as one of 20 agencies from eleven countries in the Republic of Korea as participants...

NASA researchers now can use a combination of satellite observations to re-create multi-dimensional pictures of hurricanes and other major storms in order to study complex atmospheric interactions. In this video, they applied those techniques to Hurricane Matthew. When it occurred in the fall of 2016, Matthew was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in almost ten years. Its torrential rains and winds caused significant damage and loss of life as it coursed through the Caribbean and up along the southern U.S. coast. 

Music: "Buoys," Donn Wilkerson, Killer Tracks; "Late Night Drive," Donn...

NASA scientists can measure the size and shape distribution of snow particles, layer by layer, in a storm. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission is an international satellite project that provides next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours.

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Satellite captured a 3-D image of a winter storm on February 17, 2015, that left six to 12 inches of snow over much of Kentucky, southwestern West Virginia, and northwestern North Carolina. The shades of blue in the 3-D image indicate rates of snowfall with more intense snowfall shown in darker blue. Underneath where it melts into rain, the most intense rainfall is shown in red. You can see a lot of variation in precipitation types over the southeastern portion of the United States.

The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the...

Hide Body

Hide Date