2018 Snow Cyclone

  • Released Friday, January 19, 2018

This data visualization shows the rapid intensification of the snow cyclone over the east coast beginning on January 3rd, 2018. As the snow cyclone moves up the coast, the data visualization freezes on January 4th to show GPM taking it's measurement of the storm at approximately 5:47Z. The camera then moves down closer to the storm as we slice away the volumetric data to get a sense of what the storm structure looks internally, focusing on the transition from rain to snow.

NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over the United States east coast during a snow cyclone on January 4, 2018. This storm delivered up to 18 inches of snow in some parts of New England. Areas as far south as Norfolk, Virginia received up to 10 inches. This storm was also accompanied by very high winds, ranging from 50 to 80 miles per hour.

The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions.

GPM data is part of the toolbox of satellite data used by forecasters and scientists to understand how storms behave. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Current and future data sets are available with free registration to users from NASA Goddard's Precipitation Processing Center website.

Color bar for frozen precipitation rates (ie, snow rates). Shades of cyan represent low amounts of frozen precipitation, whereas shades of purple represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for frozen precipitation rates (ie, snow rates). Shades of cyan represent low amounts of frozen precipitation, whereas shades of purple represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for liquid precipitation rates (ie, rain rates). Shades of green represent low amounts of liquid precipitation, whereas shades of red represent high amounts of precipitation.

Color bar for liquid precipitation rates (ie, rain rates). Shades of green represent low amounts of liquid precipitation, whereas shades of red represent high amounts of precipitation.

Print resolution image of the snow cyclone over the US east coast, highlighting the GPROF surface precipitation data taken by GPM as it passed overhead.

Print resolution image of the snow cyclone over the US east coast, highlighting the GPROF surface precipitation data taken by GPM as it passed overhead.

Print resolution volumetric rendering of GPM's DPR data. This data shows the inner structure of the storm in 3D.

Print resolution volumetric rendering of GPM's DPR data. This data shows the inner structure of the storm in 3D.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Data provided by the joint NASA/JAXA GPM mission.

Release date

This page was originally published on Friday, January 19, 2018.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:11 AM EST.


Missions

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Datasets used in this visualization

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