Extreme Weather News

2012 Western Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Measured From Space

2012 Western Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Measured From Space

The TRMM satellite has now been making highly accurate measurements of rainfall from space for fifteen years. TRMM can be used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other additional satellites. Those Rainfall data (3B42) are routinely created and stored at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center can be used to analyze rainfall over a wide portion of the globe. The TMPA analysis above shows the estimated amount of rain contributed by named tropical cyclones over the western Atlantic in 2012.

On average slightly more than 10 named storms occur in the Atlantic Ocean each season so nineteen named storms in 2012 was above normal. Several areas of the western Atlantic suffered from the destructive winds and deadly flooding that accompanied tropical cyclones during the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. The season started with tropical storms Alberto, Beryl and Debby forming near southeastern States. By the end of the season much of the eastern United States from the Louisiana coast through New York had received some rainfall from tropical cyclones. Hurricane Isaac caused deadly flooding along the Gulf coast but also resulted in some drought relief in the Mid-West. Hurricane Sandy was only a category two hurricane but caused numerous deaths and record breaking destruction extending from the Caribbean to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States.

The highest amounts of rainfall in this analysis were over the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico in an area called the "Hurricane Alley". Warm ocean waters in this area supply the energy to form and sustain hurricanes.

Hurricane Nadine, the fifth longest-lived Atlantic hurricane on record, occurred in the a eastern Atlantic Ocean and all of Nadine's rainfall isn't shown in this analysis. The TRMM satellite frequently flew above when Nadine was active from September 11, 2012 to October 4, 2012. Click here to see more TRMM information about rainfall with long lasting Nadine.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.