This video shows a glimpse of operations during the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Cold Season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) during a heavy snow event on 18 February 2012
Steve Nesbitt is an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studies clouds and precipitation using satellite data and ground based and aircraft observations in projects world wide. Using NASA and other measurements in tropical storms, and mid-latitude cyclones, his research group works to improve the understanding of precipitation processes so they can be better observed and predicted in computer models. Steve and his group have headed up the forecasting efforts for planning flights during the GCPEx field campaign.
Learn more about GCPEx
As you can see, it’s snowing pretty good here this morning at the CARE site. Pretty nice large aggregates. This is exactly what we’re looking for, and it just keeps coming down.
Our sampling today focused on a weather system near Barrie, Ontario. We’re here at the CARE site, which is located just to the southwest of Barrie. As you can see, we had lots of heavy snowfall at the sample with the aircraft and ground-based probes. The goal of GCPEx, or the GPM Cold Season Precipitation Experiment, is to study the properties of snow as would be seen by the NASA Global Precipitation [Measurement] mission satellite. That satellite is set to be launched in 2014 and will sense precipitation from the Equator to near the pole.
To improve the satellite products, in this project, we have aircraft, ground-based radar and probes that sample what the snowflakes actually look like so we can turn that information into retrieval algorithms that will produce maps of precipitation. Using all this information, we hope to better our understanding of snowfall in general, as well as how we measure precipitation from space. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of logistics involved in this project. Here you can see grad student Dan Harnos from the University of Illinois trying to forecast what the next event might be. Here, Dave Hudak and Vijay Kumar are examining data from a specialized radar to simulate the GPM frequencies we have operating during our experiment. This data will be crucial for developing the retrieval algorithms for snowfall on GPM. In the rest of this video you can take a look at some of the instrumentation during the project.