Constantly scanning the Earth’s surface, the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) allows scientists to both track tropical cyclones and forecast their progression. Used by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), and tropical cyclone centers in Japan, India, Australia and other countries, detailed microwave information provides data on the location, pattern and intensity of rainfall.
Complimenting the GMI is GPM’s Dual-requency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which turns two dimensional images into 3D by providing data on vertical rainfall structure. Scientists use DPR data to verify their tropical cyclone computer models. With the Ku-band and Ka-band, the DPR also measures light rainfall and falling snow, which account for a significant fraction of precipitation especially in middle and high latitudes. They also use the data to understand the distribution and movement of latent heat throughout the storm, particularly in the development of hot towers in the wall of clouds around the eye, which have been linked to rapid intensification. Together, GPM’s GMI and DPR data help scientists establish key characteristics of where, how and why rain falls in tropical cyclones as well as to better understand storm structure, intensity and the environmental conditions that cause them.
The GPM Mission observes tropical cyclone tracking and forecasting capabilities into the middle and high latitudes, covering the area from 65° S to 65°N — from about the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle. This orbit provides new insight into how and why some tropical cyclones intensify and others weaken as they move from tropical to mid-latitude systems. The sensors onboard other satellites within the GPM constellation along with GPM Core Observatory sensors provide the detailed and global observations needed to estimate, monitor and forecast extreme rainfall that may trigger natural hazards, such as flooding or landslides.
TRMM Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Yasi on February 1st to 3rd, 2011 (left to right) as it made landfall over Queensland, Australia. TRMM’s PR and TMI instruments observed Cyclone Yasi as it developed from a Category 3 tropical cyclone on Feb. 1st (left), to a Category 5 event when it made landfall with wind gusts reported at up to 186 mph on Feb. 2nd (middle), and then finally as it began to dissipate on Feb. 3rd (right).
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Tropical Cyclone Articles
In order for Hermine or any other tropical depression, to intensify there must be a pathway for heat energy from the ocean surface to enter the atmosphere. For Hermine, the conduit may have been one of the two "hot towers" that the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite observed on Aug. 31 at 4:09 p.m. EDT (2009 UTC).
Every day, scientists at NASA work on creating better hurricanes – on a computer screen. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a team of scientists spends its days incorporating millions of atmospheric observations, sophisticated graphic tools and lines of computer code to create computer models simulating the weather and climate conditions responsible for hurricanes. Scientists use these models to study the complex environment and structure of tropical storms and hurricanes.
The eye of hurricane Patricia hit the Mexican coast on October 23, 2015 at approximately 6:15 PM CDT(2315 UTC)near Cuixmala, Mexico. The maximum winds at that time were estimated to be 143 kts (165 mph). Patricia is weakening rapidly but continued heavy rain is expected to cause flash floods and mudslides in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero through Saturday October 24, 2015. Over the weekend the remants of Patricia are also expected to add to the extreme rainfall in Texas. Rainfall from a stalled front that has been causing flooding in northern and...
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite provided many views of Tropical Cyclone Kilo 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...
Hurricanes are the most powerful weather event on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) use a variety of tools to predict these storms’ paths. These scientists need a wealth of data to accurately forecast hurricanes. NASA satellites, computer modeling, instruments, aircraft and field missions contribute to this mix of information to give...