NASA GPM/PMM Participation in the Canadian Cloudsat / Calipso Validation Project (C3VP): Physical Process Studies in Snow

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A complete understanding of the Earth’s hydrologic cycle necessarily dictates an ability to accurately quantify the global range of precipitation rates and types (rain, snow etc.). In turn, global observations of precipitation are most efficiently made from space. Great strides in the measurement of global tropical rainfall have occurred recently as a result of the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM). However, future international endeavors such as the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) will require an expanded precipitation measurement capability due to the extension of the measurement to higher latitudes. Specifically, the NASA Precipitation Measurement Mission (PMM) and GPM algorithm development and Ground Validation (GV) teams are in great need of GPM pre-launch data sets for developing space-based snowfall detection and estimation algorithms. These data sets are needed to (1) develop and validate physical models that convert the physical characteristics of single snowflakes (shape, size distribution, density, ice-air-water ratio) to their radiative properties (asymmetry factor, absorption, scattering, and backscattering coefficients); and (2) relate the bulk layer radiative properties to calculated and observed passive microwave radiances and radar reflectivities.

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