PMM Science Banner

Science

 

 

Water is fundamental to life on Earth, affecting the behavior of the weather, climate, energy and ecological systems as water moves through the Earth’s water cycle as vapor, liquid and ice. Precipitation, a key component of the water cycle, is difficult to measure since rain and snow vary greatly in both space and time.

Obtaining reliable ground-based measurements of rain and snow often presents a formidable challenge due to large gaps between reliable instruments over land and, particularly, over the oceans. From the vantage point of space, satellites provide more frequent and accurate observations and measurements of rain and snow around the globe. This allows key insights into when, where and how much it rains or snows globally, supplying vital information to unravel the complex roles water plays in Earth systems.

In order to gain further insights into the relationships between the components of the Earth’s water cycle, we need to know not only how much rain falls at the surface but also the distribution of rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation within the atmosphere above the surface. This allows us to characterize precipitation processes that are vital to understanding the links and the transfer of energy (heat) between the Earth’s surface and atmosphere.

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) provide advanced information on rain and snow characteristics and detailed three-dimensional knowledge of precipitation structure within the atmosphere, which help scientists study and understand Earth's water cycle, weather and climate.

Related Articles
PMM Article Image
When asked to picture the shape of raindrops, many of us will imagine water looking like tears that fall from our eyes, or the stretched out drip from a leaky faucet. This popular misconception is often reinforced in weather imagery associated with predictions and forecasts. Raindrops are actually shaped like the top of a hamburger bun, round on the top and flat on the bottom. A new video from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission explains why. This short video explains how a raindrop falls through the atmosphere and why a more accurate look at raindrops can improve estimates of global...
PMM Article Image
On a Wednesday afternoon in June, a severe storm outbreak spawned huge thunderstorms across Iowa and western Illinois. NASA's Polarimetric precipitation radar was in place to scan the storms as they swept through the region. "It's unbelievable out here," Walt Petersen of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia wrote in an email dispatch from Traer, Iowa. There, two NASA radars were stationed as part of the Iowa Flood Studies field campaign, which Petersen led, for the Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission. Caption: A cluster of rain gauges and soil moisture sensors deployed in...
IFloodS Observes Severe Storm Outbreak
Development of low storm clouds in the atmospheric mixing layer over the NPOL and D3R radars on June 12, 2013 at ~12:00 p.m. CDT. Credit: Walt Petersen /NASA . On Wednesday afternoon, June 12, a severe storm outbreak developed and moved across central and eastern Iowa, and then western Illinois, spawning huge thunderstorms and several tornadoes. NASA's Polarimetric (NPOL) precipitation radar, currently deployed in Iowa as part of the Iowa Flood Studies field campaign for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, rapidly scanned these storms as they moved across the state. NPOL capturing...
PMM Article iFloods Banner
By Ellen Gray, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Original www.nasa.gov Feature (published 4/30/13) Ground data now being collected in northeastern Iowa by the Iowa Flood Studies experiment will evaluate how well NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission satellite rainfall data can be used for flood forecasting. GPM is an international satellite mission that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space, providing worldwide estimates of precipitation approximately every three hours. The GPM Core Observatory, provided by NASA and mission partner the Japan Aerospace...
A misty mountaintop in The Smoky Mountains
By Lisa-Natalie Anjozian, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Original www.nasa.gov Press Release (published 4/24/12) If you walk into a cloud at the top of a mountain with a cup to slake your thirst, it might take a while for your cup to fill. The tiny, barely-there droplets are difficult to see, and for scientists they, along with rain and snow, are among the hardest variables to measure in Earth Science, says Ana Barros, professor of engineering at Duke University. As part of the Science Team for NASA's Precipitation Measurement Missions (PMM) that measure rainfall from space, Barros and her...

Hide Body

Hide Date