GPM Scans Typhoon Phanfone

Liquid Precip Rate
Frozen Precip Rate

Animation revealing a swath of GPM/GMI precipitation rates over Typhoon Phanfone. The camera then moves down closer to the storm to reveal DPR's volumetric view of Phanphone. A slicing plane dissects the Typhoon from south to north and back again, revealing it's inner precipitation rates. Shades of blue indicate frozen precipitation (in the upper atmosphere). Shades of green to red are liquid precipitation which extend down to the ground.

Download in Hi-Res from the Scientific Visualization Studio

On October 6, 2014 (0215 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's Core Observatory flew over Typhoon Phanfone as it made landfall over Tokyo, Japan. At this point, Typhoon Phanfone is category 3 with maximum sustained winds at 127 miles per hour (mph) and gusts reaching 155 mph. Phanfone caused landslides and flooding throughout Japan.

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. 

DPR image of Typhoon Phanfone
Print resolution still of Typhoon Phanfone being scanned through the center of the DPR data showing the inner volumetric rain rates. Note: Tokyo is immediately to the left of the scan.

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.