GPM Outreach Event 2016

A presentation to the Museum Alliance and Solar System Ambassador Program. This event will feature a NASA scientist, two visualization specialists, and an education/communications specialist to bring you the latest on the science behind hurricanes and monsoons, as well as to share how NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission is studying global precipitation.

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Science on a Sphere: A Global Tour of Precipitation


  • Monsoons: Wet, Dry, Repeat... Abridged Version
    The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs over South Asia (among other places). Through NASA satellites and models we can see the monsoon patterns like never before. Monsoon rains provide important reservoirs of water that sustain human activities like agriculture and supports the natural environment through replenishment of aquifers. However, too much rainfall routinely causes disasters in the region, including flooding of the major rivers and landslides in areas of steep topography.

    This visualization uses a combination of NASA satellite data and models to show how and why the monsoon develops over this region. In the summer the land gets hotter, heating the atmosphere and pulling in cooler, moisture-laden air from the oceans. This causes pulses in heavy rainfall throughout the region. In the winter the land cools off and winds move towards the warmer ocean and suppressing rainfall on land.

    This is an abridged version of a longer narrated visualization.

  • Near Real-Time Global Precipitation from the Global Precipitation Measurement Constellation
    The global IMERG precipitation dataset provides rainfall rates for the entire world every thirty minutes. This remarkable dataset is created by combining precipitation measurements from 10 international satellites: GPM, TRMM, GCOM-W1, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, DMSP F-16, DMSP F-17, DMSP F-18, Metop-A, and Metop-B Although the process to create the combined dataset is intensive, the Global Precipitation Measurement team creates a preliminary, near real-time data set of precipitation within about a day of data acquisition. The animation on this page shows the most recent week or so of that preliminary data.

Tropical Cyclones

  • GPM Looks Inside a Snow Storm
    On March 17, 2014 the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory flew over the East coast's last snow storm of the 2013-2014 winter season. This was also one of the first major snow storms observed by GPM shortly after it was launched on February 27, 2014. 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. For forecasters, GPM's microwave and radar data are part of the toolbox of satellite data, including other low Earth orbit and geostationary satellites, that they use to monitor tropical cyclones and hurricanes.
  • GPM Gets a Ton of Kilo
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite provided many views of Tropical Cyclone over its very long life. GPM is a satellite co-managed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that has the ability to analyze rainfall and cloud heights. GPM was able to provide data on Kilo over its 21 day life-span. The GPM core observatory satellite flew over Kilo on August 25, 2015 at 0121 UTC as it approached Johnson Atoll and found that rainfall intensity had recently increased and the tropical depression's storm tops were very tall. GPM's Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) discovered that rain was falling at a rate of almost 65 mm (2.6 inches) per hour and storm tops were measured at altitudes of over 15.4 km (9.5 miles) Kilo was born in the Central Pacific Ocean on August 21, became a hurricane, crossed the International Dateline and was re-classified as a Typhoon and finally became extra-tropical on September 11 off Hokkaido, Japan, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.
  • Towers In The Tempest
    How cloud super-engines shift hurricanes into overdrive.
  • Water Falls (Science On a Sphere show): Hurricane Sandy
    Hurricane Sandy segment for the GPM Science On a Sphere (SOS) show titled "Water Falls". The hurricane visualization is generated from GEOS-5 model output spanning October 26, 2012 to November 2, 2012 and repeated on the globe three times.
  • GPM GMI First Light
    On March 10, the Core Observatory passed over an extra-tropical cyclone about 1055 miles (1700 kilometers) due east of Japan's Honshu Island. This visualization shows data from the GPM Microwave Imager, which observes different types of precipitation with 13 channels. Scientists analyze that data and then use it to calculate the light to heavy rain rates and falling snow within the storm.

    First data visualization of the three-dimensional structure of precipitation collected by the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar aboard the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory. The image shows rain rates across a vertical cross-section approximately 4.4 miles (7 kilometers) high through an extra-tropical cyclone observed off the coast of Japan on March 10, 2014. The DPR 152-mile (245 kilometers) wide swath is nested within the center of the GPM Microwave Imager's wider observation path. Red areas indicate heavy rainfall while yellow and blue indicate less intense rainfall. The GPM Core Observatory collects precipitation information that unifies data from an international network of existing and future satellites to map global rainfall and snowfall every three hours.

  • Seeing Beneath Earth's Clouds
    This is what falling rain and snow look like from space.
  • Winston Over Fiji
    The NASA GPM satellite passed directly over Tropical Cyclone Winston just after it made landfall on the north coast of Viti Levu Island, which is the largest and most populated island in the nation of Fiji. At the time, Winston was one of the most intense tropical cyclones observed in the South Pacific Ocean, and took an unusual track on the way to Fiji, completing a large counter-clockwise loop during the preceding week. NASA's GPM satellite is designed to measure rainfall using both passive microwave (GMI) and radar (DPR) instruments. GMI measuremensts are sensitive to the column-integrated rain and ice water, and cover a wide swath, whereas the DPR can observe 3D structures of radar signals reflected by rain and snow in a narrower swath. In this animation, the GMI rainfall estimates are shown at the earth's surface below the 3D storm structure revealed by DPR.
  • GPM 2015: One Year of Storms
    A look back at the storms captured by GPM around the world during 2015.

    The storms that appear in order are as follows:

    1. New England Nor’easter – January 26 – New England, USA

    2. Snowstorm – February 17 – Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, USA

    3. Tornadic Thunderstorms in Midwest – March 25 – Oklahoma and Arkansas, USA

    4. Typhoon Maysak – March 30 – Yap Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean

    5. Rain Accumulation from Cyclone Quang – April 28 through May 3 - Australia

    6. Flooding in Central Texas and Oklahoma – May 19 through May 26 - USA

    7. Hurricane Blanca – June 1 – Eastern Pacific Ocean, Baja Peninsula, Mexico

    8. Tropical Storm Ashobaa – June 8 – Arabian Sea

    9. Tropical Storm Carlos – June 12 – Southwestern Coast, Mexico

    10. Tropical Storm Bill – June 16 – Texas, USA

    11. USA Rain Accumulation – June through July - USA

    12. Tropical Storm Raquel – July 1 – Solomon Islands, South Pacific Ocean

    13. Tropical Storm Claudette – July 13 – North Atlantic Ocean

    14. Typhoon Nangka – July 15 - Japan

    15. Hurricane Delores Remnants Rainfall – July 13 through 20 – Southwestern USA

    16. Typhoon Halola – July 21 - Japan

    17. Typhoon Soudelor – August 5 – Taiwan and China

    18. Hurricane/Typhoon Kilo – August 23 through September 9 – Hawaii and Pacific Ocean

    19. Tropical Storm Erika – August 26 – Caribbean Sea

    20. Tropical Storm Fred – August 30 – Cape Verde

    21. Tropical Depression Nine – September 16 – Central Atlantic Ocean

    22. Tropical Storm Ida – September 21 – Central Atlantic Ocean

    23. Tropical Storm Niala – September 25 – Hawaii and Pacific Ocean

    24. Tropical Storm Marty – September 27 – Southwestern Coast, Mexico

    25. Typhoon Dujuan – September 22 through September 29 – Taiwan and China

    26. Hurricane Joaquin – September 29 – Caribbean Sea

    27. Typhoon Koppu – October 15 - Philippines

    28. Hurricane Patricia – October 22 – Texas, USA

    29. Tropical Cyclone Chapala – October 28 through November 3 – Yemen and Arabian Sea

    30. Tropical Cyclone Megh – November 8 – Yemen and Arabian Sea

    31. Typhoon IN-FA – November 19 – Western Pacific Ocean

    32. Hurricane Sandra – November 26 – Eastern Pacific Ocean

    33. India Flooding – November 28 through December 4 – Tamil Nadu, India

    34. Winter Storm Desmond – November 30 through December 7 – United Kingdom

    35. Tropical Cyclone 05S – December 9 – Reunion and Mauritius, South Indian Ocean

    36. Super Typhoon Melor – December 12 - Philippines

    37. Tornadoes and Flooding in Midwest – December 21 through December 28 – Midwestern USA

    38. Paraguay Flooding – December 22 through December 29 – Asuncion, Paraguay

    39. Tropical Depression 95P – December 29 – Pacific Ocean

    40. Tropical Cyclone 06P (ULA) – December 30 – Samoa, South Pacific Ocean

    41. Near Real-Time IMERG – December 25 through December 31

More Precipitation Resources

  • GPM: The Fresh(water) Connection
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is an international satellite mission to provide next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch a "Core" satellite carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space. The data they provide will be used to unify precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world.

    The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society.

  • GPM Gallery
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the GPM concept centers on the deployment of a "Core" satellite carrying an advanced radar / radiometer system to measure precipitation from space and serve as a reference standard to unify precipitation measurements from a constellation of research and operational satellites. Through improved measurements of precipitation globally, the GPM mission will help to advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycle, improve forecasting of extreme events that cause natural hazards and disasters, and extend current capabilities in using accurate and timely information of precipitation to directly benefit society. GPM, initiated by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a global successor to TRMM, comprises a consortium of international space agencies, including the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and others. The GPM Core Observatory launched from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, at 1:37 PM EST on February 27, 2014.

    For more information and resources please visit the Precipitation Measurement Missions web site.

  • Anatomy of a Raindrop
    This short video explains how a raindrop falls through the atmosphere and why a more accurate look at raindrops can improve estimates of global precipitation.

    For a printable droplet hand out click here.

  • Water Falls: Show Me the Water
    This is a spinoff video for the Science On a Sphere film, "Water Falls."
  • GPM: For Good Measure
    The need for measuring the when and where and how much of precipitation goes beyond our weekend plans. We also need to know precipitaiton on a global scale. Rain gauges and radars are useful but are inconsistent and do not cover enough of the globe to provide accurate precipitation rates. The GPM constellation will cover the globe and give us a more comprehensive look at precipitation.
  • Why Do Raindrop Sizes Matter In Storms?
    Not all raindrops are created equal. The size of falling raindrops depends on several factors, including where the cloud producing the drops is located on the globe and where the drops originate in the cloud. For the first time, scientists have three-dimensional snapshots of raindrops and snowflakes around the world from space, thanks to the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. With the new global data on raindrop and snowflake sizes this mission provides, scientists can improve rainfall estimates from satellite data and in numerical weather forecast models, helping us better understand and prepare for extreme weather events. Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube Channel.