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IMERG Sees a Dry September
Rainfall was scarce across much of the country in the month of September, pushing the eastern and southern thirds of the country into drought conditions. IMERG, the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM, is a unified satellite precipitation product produced by NASA to estimate surface precipitation over most of the globe.
Observing the Intertropical Convergence Zone with IMERG
The intertropical convergence zone or “ITCZ” roughly forms a band that circumnavigates the Earth near the Equator where the northeast trade winds in the Northern Hemisphere converge with the southeast trade winds in the Southern Hemisphere. Sailors have often referred to it as the “doldrums” due to its generally light winds. Yet, the ITCZ is an important part of the global circulation as it forms the ascending branch of the Hadley circulation. This is ultimately driven by incoming solar radiation, which peaks near the Equator. This warms the air and the ocean, causing warm buoyant air to rise...
How TRMM and GPM Study Latent Heating
Latent heating (LH) arises predominantly from the release of heat associated with the condensation of water vapor into cloud droplets in clouds with active updrafts. Other sources of LH include ice deposition and freezing, while evaporation, melting and sublimation induce cooling, but condensation is the dominant heating term. Like a hot-air balloon, LH can keep air parcels warmer than their surrounding environment and therefore rising. On a large scale, LH is responsible for driving the ascending branch of the Hadley Circulation. LH is also an important component in the dynamics of a regional...
TMPA Shows El Niño Conditions in the Pacific
An El Niño that began to form last fall has matured and is now fully entrenched across the Pacific. Changes in sea surface temperatures, or SSTs, brought about by an El Niño affect the atmosphere, resulting in distinctive changes in the rainfall pattern across the Pacific Basin. These changes show up as anomalies or deviations in NASA’s analysis of climatological rainfall. This map shows sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies for the Pacific Basin, shown as degrees Celsius above or below average. Credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center. In a typical El Niño, warmer than average SSTs off of the...
Finding Strong Storms with TRMM & GPM
Spring is severe storms season here in the US, but not everyone has NEXRAD radar coverage; however, NASA’s TRMM and GPM satellites with their onboard radars have made it possible to search the entire global Tropics and midlatitudes and systematically identify areas where there are strong to intense thunderstorms. Researchers now headed by Dr. Chuntao Liu at Texas A&M University have built a comprehensive database of “precipitation features” based on regions of contiguous radar echoes from first the TRMM and now the GPM satellite. These precipitation features can then be mined to locate areas...

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