GPM Captures Hurricane Odile

Liquid precipitation rate

Frozen precipitation rate

Animation revealing a swath of GPM/GMI precipitation rates over Hurricane Odile. The camera then moves down closer to the Hurricane to reveal DPR's volumetric view of Odile. As the camera rotates around the Hurricane, a slicing plane dissects Odile revealing it's inner precipitation rates closer to the eye. Shades of blue indicate frozen precipitation (in the upper atmosphere). Shades of green to red are liquid precipitation which extend down to the ground.

On September 15, 2014 (15:11 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory flew over Hurricane Odile as it made landfall on the Baja peninsula. At this point, Hurricane Odile is category 2 with maximum sustained winds at 98 miles per hour (mph) and gusts reaching 121 mph. Odile caused major damage to several Mexican beach resorts including Cabo San Lucas, and has the potential to cause flash flooding as far as Phoenix, Arizona.

GPM data from Hurricane Odile
Precipitation rates from Hurricane Odile.
Download in hi-res from the NASA SVS.

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. 

The addition of GPM data to the current suite of satellite data is timely. Its predecessor precipitation satellite, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, is 18 years into what was originally a three-year mission. GPM's new high-resolution microwave imager data and the unique radar data ensure that forecasters and modelers won't have a gap in coverage. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. All GPM data products can be found at NASA Goddard's Precipitation Processing Center website.