Featured Articles Archive

  • How Does NASA Study Hurricanes?
    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...
  • A Tale of Two Extremes: Rainfall Across the US
    The United States has seen a tale of two extremes this year, with drenching rains in the eastern half of the country and persistent drought in the west. A new visualization of rainfall data collected from space shows the stark contrast between east and west for the first half of 2015. The precipitation data shown here, from Jan. 1 through July 16, is from the joint NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Global Precipitation Measurement mission.  Accumulated rain totals are shown in different colors: 0 to 1 inch is light blue, up to 12 inches is green, up to 20 inches is yellow,...
  • California “Rain Debt” Equal to Average Full Year of Precipitation
    A new NASA study has concluded California accumulated a debt of about 20 inches of precipitation between 2012 and 2015 -- the average amount expected to fall in the state in a single year. The deficit was driven primarily by a lack of air currents moving inland from the Pacific Ocean that are rich in water vapor. In an average year, 20 to 50 percent of California's precipitation comes from relatively few, but extreme events called atmospheric rivers that move from over the Pacific Ocean to the California coast. "When they say that an atmospheric river makes landfall, it's almost...
  • Satellite-Based Flood Monitoring Central to Relief Agencies' Disaster Response
    In January 2015, the Shire River in Malawi, and Zambezi River in Mozambique were under tight scrutiny. Weeks of torrential rains led these and other rivers to burst their banks displacing 390,000 people across the region. In southern Malawi 220,000 acres of farmland were turned into a lake, cutting off roads and stranding thousands of people on patches of high ground. The flood was devastating for the country, but within 72 hours of it being declared an emergency the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was on the ground distributing food to residents.  
  • Using NASA Data to Show How Raindrops Could Save Rupees
    Rainwater could save people in India a bucket of money, according to a new study by scientists looking at NASA satellite data. The study, partially funded by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions, found that collecting rainwater for vegetable irrigation could reduce water bills, increase caloric intake and even provide a second source of income for people in India. The study, published in the June issue of Urban Water Journal, is based on precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration...
  • GPM Sees Tropical Storm Bill Over Texas
    Tropical Storm Bill made landfall over Texas at approximately 11:45am CST on June 16, 2015. Shortly after midnight, GPM passed over the storm as it slowly worked it's way northward across the already drenched state of Texas. This visualization shows Bill at precisely 12:11:27am CST (6:11:27 GMT) on June 17, 2015. 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...
  • TRMM Spacecraft Debris to Re-Enter
    June 16, 2015, Update: The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on June 15, 2015, at 11:55 p.m. EDT, over the South Indian Ocean, according to the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space through the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). The U.S. Space Surveillance Network, operated by the Defense Department's JSpOC, had been closely monitoring TRMM’s descent since the mission was ended in April. Most of the spacecraft was expected to burn up in the atmosphere during its uncontrolled re-entry.
  • NASA's Summer Institute for Science Teachers
    Maryland teachers will soon embark on NASA’s mission to enhance science learning in elementary schools across the state. During the month of July, educators will study the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding area alongside scientists and engineers who will provide an insider perspective on scientific study. This is just one part of NASA’s Summer Watershed Institute, organized by education specialists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. One of the greatest benefits of the institute will be the opportunity for teachers to learn from scientists and engineers,...

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