Rain, snow, hail, ice, and every mix in between make up the precipitation that touches everyone on our planet. But precipitation doesn't fall equally in all places around the world, as seen in NASA's new animation that captures every shower, snowstorm and tropical cyclone over a six-day period in August 2014. The time lapse was created from data captured by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission, now just over a year old, which scientists are using to better understand freshwater resources, natural disasters, crop health and more.
GPM Core Observatory
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory captured a 3-D image of a winter storm on Feb. 17, 2015, that left 6 to 12 inches of snow over much of Kentucky, southwestern West Virginia and northwestern North Carolina. The shades of blue indicate rates of snowfall, with more intense snowfall shown in darker blue. Intense rainfall is shown in red. The imagery shows great variation in precipitation types over the southeastern United States.
At 5:05 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, the Global
At 5:05 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory flew over the Nor'easter that dumped snow on New England. This satellite image shows the rate of rainfall, with low amounts in green and high in red, and snowfall, in blue to purple. The center of the storm, shown in 3-D, was offshore with far reaching bands of snowfall. More intense snow rates are shown in darker blue, which can be seen on the northern edge of the storm. Visible in the 3-D image of the center of the storm are the snowy tops of the clouds in blue and underneath where it melts into rain, the most intense rainfall shown in red, over the ocean. Over land, snow reaches the ground.
At 5:05 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, the Global
The most accurate and comprehensive collection of rain, snowfall and other types of precipitation data ever assembled now is available to the public. This new resource for climate studies, weather forecasting, and other applications is based on observations by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with contributions from a constellation of international partner satellites. The GPM Core Observatory, launched from Japan on Feb. 27, carries two advanced instruments to measure rainfall, snowfall, ice and other precipitation. The advanced and precise data from the GPM Core Observatory are used to unify and standardize precipitation observations from other constellation satellites to produce the GPM mission data. These data are freely available through NASA's Precipitation Processing System at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Precipitation Processing System at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has released the Level 2 GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) data to the public. The data set includes precipitation rates, which show how much rain and snowfall accumulate over a given time period.
The GPM spacecraft continues to perform normally. The GPM Microwave Imager and Dual-frequency Precipitation radar continue operations and calibration. The spacecraft performed two routine maneuvers. The first was a 180-degree yaw (left/right in the horizontal plane) turn. This is the second yaw turn that changes the orientation of the spacecraft; it is now flying forwards again. Yaw turns are performed approximately every 40 days for thermal control, as the angle between the spacecraft's orbit and the sun changes. This keeps the side of the spacecraft designed to remain cold from overheating.
The second routine maneuver performed was a delta-v burn to increase the velocity of the spacecraft and maintain altitude. An extremely thin layer of atmosphere still exists at GPM's altitude of 250 miles above Earth's surface. As the spacecraft flies through the thin gases, drag occurs, slowing – and lowering – the spacecraft. Delta-v burns occur weekly to maintain altitude.
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory is performing normally. On April 2, the GPM Core Observatory fired its thrusters for an 80-second delta-V burn that accelerated the spacecraft and circularized its orbit. The Core Observatory is now flying in its final orbit, 253 miles (407 kilometers) above Earth's surface.
Calibration of the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) continued. On March 30 and 31, additional DPR external calibrations took place using the Active Radar Calibration site in Tsukuba, Japan. For the March 31 calibration test, the Core Observatory's orientation was changed by a 90-degree turn (yaw) and a slight tilt (pitch) to provide better visibility to the ground site at Tsukuba and to better calibrate the instrument.
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory commissioning activities continued normally this week. Both the GPM Microwave Imager and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) are collecting science data and NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency released the first images from the instruments on March 25. The DPR's functional checkout activities and internal calibration continued. The first external calibration using the Active Radar Calibration site in Tsukuba, Japan, was performed on March 23.
A 120-second "Delta-V" burn was successfully completed Wednesday. This burn raised the orbit apogee (highest point). Next week's burn will raise the orbit perigee (lowest point) and circularize the orbit.