Recently, NASA along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM is helping to provide scientists with new insights into finding out how Earth works as a system and specific weather patterns including rain and snowfall. Together with these missions, NASA now has 20 ongoing Earth-observing missions. The observations from these missions will be openly available to both scientists and decision makers worldwide.
“The highly accurate measurements from these new missions will help scientists around the world tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing,” said Peg Luce, deputy director of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These new capabilities will also be put to work to help improve lives here on Earth and support informed decision-making by citizens and communities.”
In January, NASA released the most comprehensive global rain and snowfall product to date from the GPM mission that was comprised of data from a system of 12 international satellites and the Core Observatory. The Core Observatory combines measurements of other satellites, which offers a global picture of rain and snow, called the Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG. On Thursday February 26, 2015, the first global visualization of the initial IMERG data was released.
“The IMERG data gives us an unprecedented view of global precipitation every 30 minutes,” said Gail Skofronick-Jackson, GPM project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Knowing where, when and how much it rains and snows is vital to understanding Earth’s water cycle.”
NASA deployed two Earth-observing instruments to the International Space Station: ISS-RapidScat, in September of 2014 which is a scatterometer that is using wind measurements to help figure out how ocean winds differ from day and night, and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), in January of 2015 which is a lidar that measures the altitude of clouds and airborne particles (aerosols) which will help scientists determine the future potential impact of climate change.
The launch of the GPM core observatory will help scientists to study Earth’s interconnected natural systems and better understand how our planet is changing.