GPM Anime Contest Webquest Part 4: Societal Applications
So, are you thinking about creating an anime mascot for GPM? Do you need to learn a little more about the science and technology behind measuring precipitation?
Part 4: Societal Applications
All life relies on the availability of water. Knowing when, where and how much it rains or snows is vital to understanding how weather and climate impact our environment and the Earth’s entire water and energy cycle, including effects on agriculture, fresh water availability and responses to natural disasters.
One of the biggest changes to global agriculture is less about the food itself as it is about the water we use to grow it. In some areas, farmers are using freshwater resources -- including groundwater -- at an alarming rate: http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/videos/science-hungry-world-growing-water-problems
This video looks at how climate change will impact agriculture in the future: http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/videos/science-hungry-world-agriculture-and-climate-change
Using data from various satellites, these images show maps of the location of world droughts compared to where crops are grown: http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/images/world-droughts-2005-2009-versus-where-crops-are-grown
This NASA video segment highlights the impact of drought on a global scale. Viewers learn that during a drought the risk of fire increases. Fire produces soot and ash that travel across continents on the trade winds: http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/videos/environmental-economic-and-social-impact-drought
This article describes the impact of the 13-year drought on Southern Australia’s freshwater resources. The authors explain how missions such as TRMM and GPM can provide rainfall estimates at regional and global scales to help scientists better understand extreme droughts and consequent freshwater availability: http://pmm.nasa.gov/applications/freshwater-availability
Over one billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide. What can be done? Learn more about this problem and explore possible solutions: http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/websites/safe-drinking-water-essential
Climate change has a profound impact on freshwater resources: all regions of the world show an overall net negative impact from climate change on water resources and freshwater ecosystems: http://climatechangehumanhealth.org/activities/water-resources-2/
Flooding, Landslides, Tropical Cyclones:
What happens when an area gets too much rain? These links will help you learn more about the causes and impacts of landslides, tropical cyclones (including hurricanes), flooding and other extreme weather events.
This video describes how GPM’s predecessor, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), measures precipitation during tropical cyclones and uses that data to assist with both forecasting and understanding related events, such as landslides and flooding:
Image Source: Waffy Casem
Landslides are one of the most pervasive hazards in the world, resulting in more fatalities and economic damage than is generally recognized. They have caused more than 11,500 fatalities in 70 countries from 2007-2010, and in the United States alone $1-2 billion dollars per year in damage from destroyed houses and blocked roads. This article explains how TRMM data is being used to develop global landslide models to help scientists characterize landslide hazards in near-real time over larger areas: http://pmm.nasa.gov/applications/landslides
To see the power of landslides and learn more about landslides, watch this National Geographic video clip.
Hurricanes are the most awesome, violent storms on Earth. People call these storms by other names, such as typhoons or cyclones, depending on where they occur. The scientific term for all these storms is tropical cyclone. Only tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or eastern Pacific Ocean are called "hurricanes." http://spaceplace.nasa.gov
This article describes how the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) allows scientists to both track tropical cyclones and forecast their progression. Used by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), and tropical cyclone centers in Japan, India, Australia and other countries, detailed microwave information provides data on the location, pattern and intensity of rainfall: http://pmm.nasa.gov/applications/tropical-cyclones
Now see if you can answer these questions about Societal Applications!
- What are some of the societal applications that GPM will help us to better address?
- In what ways might climate change impact agriculture?
- How does drought impact people across the world?
- What do we still need to know to better help people across the globe have access to clean freshwater resources?
- How does climate change impact freshwater availability?
- What causes landslides to occur?
- How will GPM data help us to understand natural disasters like landslides and tropical cyclones?