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

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Tropical Storm Imelda Brings Flooding Rain To Texas

By Friday morning, September 20, the rainfall from the remnant of Tropical Storm Imelda had increased to over 24 inches in some areas near the Gulf of Mexico coast between Beaumont and Houston, Texas. This rainfall was in excess of what had been forecasted a few days earlier and was due to Imelda's forward motion ceasing for approximately 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. The image shows, with large "L" symbols, the location estimated by the National Hurricane Center for Imelda's low-pressure center of rotation at various times over the past three days. This near-realtime rain
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 IMERG Measures Hurricane Dorian's Rainfall from the Caribbean to Canada

Hurricane Dorian (2019) brought heavy rain to the Caribbean, along the US East Coast, and up to Canada. NASA satellite-based precipitation estimates tracked the storm throughout its lifetime, as shown by the sequence of images below. September 3, 2019: Hurricane Dorian over Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands In the early hours of Tuesday, September 3, Hurricane Dorian had been stationary over the island of Grand Bahama for 18 hours, most of the time as a category 5 hurricane. Storm-total rain accumulation over parts of Grand Bahama and Abaco islands have exceeded 24 inches according to NASA
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...
GPM Catches Nor'easter over New England
At the time of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory overpass (April 1, 2017, 0550 UTC), the storm's center of low pressure was south of Long Island. At the mid-levels of the atmosphere, the circulation was centered over northeast Pennsylvania. This led to a classic overrunning, warm conveyor setup, which happened when the counterclockwise low level flow drew in cold air out of the north/northeast (hence "Nor'easter") from Canada. Higher up, warm and moist air from further south was lifted over this cold air and resulted in precipitation in the form of snow at the surface...
GPM Measures Tropical Cyclone Debbie
Tropical cyclone Debbie formed in the Coral Sea northeast of Australia om March 24, 2017. Debbie intensified and had hurricane force wind speeds within a day of formation. While headed toward northeastern Australia Debbie reached it's maximum sustained wind speeds estimated at over 100 kts (115 mph) on March 27, 2017 (UTC). Tropical cyclone Debbie came ashore on March 28th and brought destructive winds and extremely heavy rain to northeastern Australia. It was reported that heavy rainfall caused flash flooding that cut off a coastal town and covered several roads in Queensland. The GPM...
GPM Sees Hurricane Matthew Nearing Florida
UPDATE 10/6/16: NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Matthew several times as the category 4 storm headed toward Florida. The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions. This data...
NASA Sees Hermine's Twin Towers
In order for Hermine or any other tropical depression, to intensify there must be a pathway for heat energy from the ocean surface to enter the atmosphere. For Hermine, the conduit may have been one of the two "hot towers" that the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite observed on Aug. 31 at 4:09 p.m. EDT (2009 UTC). GPM's DPR instrument saw strong storms near the center of Tropical Depression Hermine on the evening of Aug. 31. Two "hot towers" are seen to the right of the low pressure center (south and east of the center), which are labeled "T1" and "T2." The "L"...
Storm Brings Heavy Precipitation to Northeast
UPDATE 1/23/2016 5:00pm ET On January 23, 2016 at 1239 UTC (7:39 AM EST) the GPM core observatory passed above the deadly winter storm that was burying the Northeast under a deep layer of snow. As GPM passed above a band of snow was shown approaching the island of Manhattan. The winter storm was predicted to dump near record snowfall in New York city. GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments showed massive amounts of moisture being transported from the Atlantic Ocean over states from New York westward through West Virginia. GPM's Radar instruments...

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...

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