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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NASA Reveals Heavy Rainfall in Tropical Cyclone Fani

Satellite data revealed heavy rainfall in powerful Tropical Cyclone Fani before it made landfall in northeastern India. Fani brought that soaking rain to the region and continues to drop heavy rainfall on May 3, as it moves toward Bangladesh. NASA’s GPM or Global Precipitation Measurement mission satellite provides information on precipitation from its orbit in space. On May 1 at 7:56 a.m. EDT (1156 UTC), the GPM Core Observatory captured an overpass of the powerful storm as it continued strengthening and moving toward landfall. A 3D image and a color-enhanced rainfall image were created at

GPM Flies Over Developing Tropical Storm Idai Twice

Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai started as a tropical depression on the 4th of March, 2019, off the coast of Mozambique. After making landfall over Mozambique it turned back over the Mozambique Channel and strengthened to become a tropical cyclone on the 10th of March. The GPM satellite captured the cyclone with both the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) on the 11th of March at 04:36 UTC when the storm was in the middle on the Mozambique Channel. The DPR captured a well-developed eye, seen at the center of the image. It flew over the storm once again at

GPM Examines Weakening Tropical Cyclone Kenanga

Tropical cyclone Kenanga has started to weaken as predicted. The GPM core observatory satellite had an excellent view of Kenanga on December 20, 2018 at 1454 UTC when the tropical cyclone's maximum sustained winds had decreased to about 90 kts (103.5 mph). That GPM pass also showed that the eye that was so prominent a day earlier had filled. Data collected by the satellite's Microwave Imager (GMI) and GPM's Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments revealed through the overcast that powerful storms south of Kenanga's center of circulation were still producing very heavy rainfall

IMERG Measures Flooding Rainfall In Deadly California Wildfire Areas

Heavy precipitation has been falling in areas of California that were recently devastated by deadly wildfires. This flooding rainfall has resulted in evacuations in burn scarred areas such as Butte County where the deadly Camp Fire hit this month. Flash floods, debris flows and mudslides are now predicted in areas where deadly wildfires stripped away vegetation. On a positive note these Pacific storms are expected to dampen wildfires and replenish the Sierra Nevada snowpack. This snowpack is an important source of water for California's streams and rivers. NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE

NASA's IMERG Used To Analyze Tropical Storm Usagi's Rainfall

Usagi strengthened to hurricane intensity as it approached Vietnam from the South China Sea but weakened to tropical storm intensity when coming ashore. Very heavy rainfall and damaging winds accompanied tropical storm Usagi when it hit Vietnam's southern coast. More than 350 mm (14 inches) of rainfall was reported causing widespread flooding around Ho Chi Minh City. NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data were used to show estimates of rainfall accumulation produced by Usagi as the tropical cyclone moved across the South China Sea into Southeast Asia. This IMERG
GPM Flies Over Hurricane Gonzalo
Download in Hi-Res from the Scientific Visualization Studio On October 16th, 2014 (1342 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory flew over Hurricane Gonzalo as it headed towards Bermuda. Hurricane Gonzalo remains a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, with maximum sustained winds at 130 mph. As of 12:00 UTC (8:00a.m. EDT) on Friday, October 17th, the National Hurricane Center forecast located the storm about 195 miles south southwest of Bermuda, where a hurricane warning is in effect. The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that...
GPM Scans Typhoon Phanfone
Animation revealing a swath of GPM/GMI precipitation rates over Typhoon Phanfone. The camera then moves down closer to the storm to reveal DPR's volumetric view of Phanphone. A slicing plane dissects the Typhoon from south to north and back again, revealing it's inner precipitation rates. Shades of blue indicate frozen precipitation (in the upper atmosphere). Shades of green to red are liquid precipitation which extend down to the ground. Download in Hi-Res from the Scientific Visualization Studio On October 6, 2014 (0215 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core...
GPM Uncovers Compact Eyewall in Hurricane Simon
Hurricane Simon appeared to be keeping a secret before it rapidly intensified on Oct. 4, but the Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM satellite was able uncover it. On Oct. 4 at 0940 UTC (5:40 a.m. EDT) observations by the Ku-band radar on the GPM satellite suggested that the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Hurricane Simon was hiding a very compact eyewall hours before the National Hurricane Center detected rapid intensification of Simon's surface winds. The GPM satellite was launched in February of this year and is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. On Oct. 4 at 0940...
PMM Article Image
On September 26, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite flew over an extra-tropical cyclone whose center was approaching Norway. The Norwegian weather service reported that this storm brought gale-force winds to parts of Norway's coast and mountains (20 m/s in the mountains and 50 m/s just off-coast, late at night on September 26). Extra-tropical cyclones this strong or stronger are a regular feature of northern European winters. The particularly damaging ones are called "windstorms." Borrowing a page from hurricane forecasters, some weather agencies in affected countries name...
GPM Captures Hurricane Odile
​ ​ Animation revealing a swath of GPM/GMI precipitation rates over Hurricane Odile. The camera then moves down closer to the Hurricane to reveal DPR's volumetric view of Odile. As the camera rotates around the Hurricane, a slicing plane dissects Odile revealing it's inner precipitation rates closer to the eye. Shades of blue indicate frozen precipitation (in the upper atmosphere). Shades of green to red are liquid precipitation which extend down to the ground. On September 15, 2014 (15:11 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory flew over Hurricane Odile as...

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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