GPM

Overview

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the GPM concept centers on the deployment of a “Core” satellite carrying an advanced radar / radiometer system to measure precipitation from space and serve as a reference standard to unify precipitation measurements from a constellation of research and operational satellites. Through improved measurements of precipitation globally, the GPM mission is helping to advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycle, improve forecasting of extreme events that cause natural hazards and disasters, and extend current capabilities in using accurate and timely information of precipitation to directly benefit society. 

GPM Core Observatory overpass of Hurricane Florence from 9/14/18 at 18:36 UTC. Ground track shows rain rates (mm/hr) from the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) instrument, 3D swath shows rain rates in the atmospheric column from the Dual-frequency Precipitation

GPM Core Observatory overpass of Hurricane Florence from 9/14/18 at 18:36 UTC. Ground track shows rain rates (mm/hr) from the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) instrument, 3D swath shows rain rates in the atmospheric column from the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR).

The GPM Core Observatory carries the first space-borne Ku/Ka-band Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and a multi-channel GPM Microwave Imager (GMI). The DPR instrument, which provides three dimensional measurements of precipitation structure over 78 and 152 mile (125 and 245 km) swaths, consists of a Ka-band precipitation radar (KaPR) operating at 35.5 GHz and a Ku-band precipitation radar (KuPR) operating at 13.6 GHz. Relative to the TRMM precipitation radar, the DPR is more sensitive to light rain rates and snowfall. In addition, simultaneous measurements by the overlapping of Ka/Ku-bands of the DPR can provide new information on particle drop size distributions over moderate precipitation intensities. In addition, by providing new microphysical measurements from the DPR to complement cloud and aerosol observations, GPM is expected to provide further insights into how precipitation processes may be affected by human activities.

The GMI instrument is a conical-scanning multi-channel microwave radiometer covering a swath of 550 miles (885 km) with thirteen channels ranging in frequency from 10 GHz to 183 GHz. The GMI uses a set of frequencies that have been optimized over the past two decades to retrieve heavy, moderate and light precipitation using the polarization difference at each channel as an indicator of the optical thickness and water content.

Disasters Applications

  • GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) can measure rainfall rates within storm systems to quantify the impact of tropical cyclones and other storm systems.
  • GMI data is integrated into multiple Numerical Weather Prediction models to initialize weather forecasts with observational  data and improve storm track prediction, including the Naval Research Lab (NRL) Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting system (ATCF), the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA/NOAA) Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS), and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) (https://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/610/applied-sciences/mission_applications_materials/GPMApplicationsExamples22017.pdf) 
  • GPM's Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) can measure size and distribution of hydrometeors within clouds in 3D, and can differentiate between liquid and frozen precipitation. This helps to understand the structure and intensity of precipitation within storm systems to better understand how tropical cyclones form and intensify and to help quantify their impact (https://pmm.nasa.gov/articles/dive-360-view-hurricane-maria)    
  •    The Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) dataset provides near-realtime global observations of rainfall at 10km resolution, which can be used to estimate total rainfall accumulation from storm systems and quantify the intensity of rainfall and flood impacts from tropical cyclones and other storm systems. (https://pmm.nasa.gov/articles/two-decades-precipitation-measurement   
  • IMERG  is used by the UMD Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS)  to detect potential flooding conditions and estimate intensity (http://flood.umd.edu/     
  • IMERG precipitation data is integrated into the Landslide Hazard Assessment for Situational Awareness (LHASA) model to create landslide "nowcasts" that warn of potential landslide conditions around the world and provide situational awareness of landslide hazards. (https://pmm.nasa.gov/articles/modeling-landslide-threats-near-realtime)              

Latest Updates

November 18, 2020
Map of landslide risk in Central America
On November 3, 2020, Hurricane Eta made landfall as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit Central America in years. The category 4 storm destroyed hundreds of homes, killed more than 100 people, and brought torrential rains that triggered large and numerous landslides in Guatemala and Honduras. Less than two weeks later, ...
October 28, 2020
GPM Core Observatory overpass of Tropical Storm Zeta on October 28 at approximately 3:25 CDT (8:25 UTC), showing the structure and intensity of precipitation within the storm. Credit: NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio
As Hurricane Zeta moves towards landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast, NASA has eyes on the storm with an array of Earth-observing instruments and stands ready to aid affected communities with critical data and analysis. Zeta is following a path similar to Hurricane Delta, which after crossing the Yucatan Peninsula made its way across the Gulf of Mexico and struck the Louisiana coast as a Category 2 hurricane on October 9. If Zeta makes landfall as expected along the northern Gulf Coast, it will become the 7th named storm to do so in this record-breaking season, following Tropical Storm Cristobal,...
August 27, 2020
GPM Overpass of Hurricane Laura
The NASA / JAXA GPM Core Observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Laura shortly before it made landfall at 10:00pm CT on Wednesday, August 26th, then again at 7:42am CT on Thursday, August 27th when it was over land, capturing data on precipitation within the storm. This visualization from the 10:00pm CT August 26 GPM overpass shortly before Laura made landfall shows GPM Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) data (center track) overlaid on GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) data showing the intensity...
June 6, 2020
GPM IMERG estimated rainfall totals from Tropical Storms Amanda and Cristobal from May 27th - June 5th, 2020. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a busy start. By the first week of June, Tropical Storm Arthur had already brushed North Carolina, Tropical Storm Bertha had drenched South Carolina, and the third named storm of the year— Cristobal—was dropping torrential rain on the Yucatán Peninsula. The storm first developed in the Pacific in late May as Tropical Storm Amanda, spinning off the southern end of a seasonal low-pressure pattern called the Central American Gyre. After making landfall in Guatemala and causing deadly floods in El Salvador, Amanda weakened and became less organized as...
May 19, 2020
GPM IMERG estimated rainfall totals from Cyclone Amphan from May 16 - 19, 2020. Credit: Owen Kelly (NASA GSFC)
NASA monitored the heavy rain associated with Tropical Cyclone Amphan as it made landfall at 0900 UTC (2:30 PM local time) on May 20, 2020. Landfall occurred near the India-Bangladesh border along the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal. At the time of the most recent satellite observation used to generate this image (0900 UTC, May 20), heavy rain had started falling along the coast but large accumulations had not yet occurred over land. So far the largest rainfall accumulation from Amphan has fallen over the Bay of Bengal on May 18 while Amphan was at category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
April 14, 2020
Rainfall measurements of Cyclone Harold from NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM) satellite on April 6th, 2020. Credit: NASA
A Category 4 cyclone, the most powerful yet of 2020, made landfall on the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Monday, not long before this GPM overpass from April 6th, 2020 at 1:41 UTC. Tropical Cyclone Harold developed from a low pressure system that was observed to the east of Papua New Guinea last week, and has tracked to the southeast, where it has already caused flooding and loss of life in the Solomon Islands. Early reports from Vanuatu indicate heavy flooding and property damage.
September 4, 2019
GPM overpass of Hurricane Dorian
Video of GPM Satellite observes Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas   The NASA / JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory flew over Hurricane Dorian on September 1st (5:22pm ET / 21:22 UTC) as the storm was directly over Abaco Island in The Bahamas. The satellite captured data on rainfall rates within the storm as it flew over using its Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and GPM Microwave Imager (GMI). In this animation the multi-satellite GPM IMERG product is shown first to illustrate rainfall rates prior to the overpass. When the camera zooms in data...
August 29, 2019
GPM IMERG estimated rainfall totals for Hurricane Dorian from August 31st - September 5th, 2019. Credit: Owen Kelley (NASA GSFC)
UPDATE 9/5/19: Hurricane Dorian continues to generate tremendous amounts of rainfall, and has left over three feet of rain in some areas of the Bahamas and is now lashing the Carolinas. NASA’s IMERG product provided a look at those rainfall totals.
July 25, 2019
Screenshot of the IMERG Alaska wildfires visualization.
NASA’s satellite-based estimates of global precipitation can provide valuable information to officials monitoring the many wildfires that have been scorching Alaska this summer. Although wildfires regularly occur every Alaskan summer, July 2019 proved a particularly active month. Few rain gauges exist in the remote expanses of Alaskan wilderness, but wildfires unchecked can spread to populated areas within the state. Satellite-based precipitation estimates are therefore particularly valuable because of precipitation's relationship to wildfire hazard. The embedded video, above, shows data...
July 17, 2019
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation from Hurricane Barry.
This animation shows the heavy precipitation that Hurricane Barry produced from July 11-16 in the Gulf of Mexico and the southcentral United States. While forecasters were initially concerned that the largest accumulations would extend far over land, the heaviest rainfall  remained mostly offshore.  Precipitation estimates are derived from the GPM IMERG product, which combines microwave and infrared observations from an international constellation of satellites united by the GPM Core Observatory. The left side of the movie shows the total accumulation starting in the early hours of...
July 12, 2019
GPM Core Observatory rainfall rates from Tropical Storm Barry captured July 11th, 2019 at 8:26am CT. Credit: Jacob Reed / NASA GSFC
GPM Core Observatory rainfall rates from Tropical Storm Barry captured July 11th, 2019 at 8:26am CT. Credit: Jacob Reed / NASA GSFC NASA / JAXA’s GPM Core Observatory passed over developing Tropical Depression 2 (which was upgraded to Tropical Storm Barry later in the morning) in the Gulf of Mexico the morning of July 11th 2019 at 8:26am CT, capturing estimates of rainfall rates within the storm. The first image shows rainfall rates collected by GPM’s Microwave Imager, while the second...
October 25, 2018
IMERG rainfall accumulation from Typhoon Yutu
This rainfall accumulation analysis was derived from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) IMERG multi-satellite dataset. This analysis shows Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) rainfall accumulation estimates along Yutu’s track from October 21- 25, 2018 as it hit the Northern Mariana Islands. IMERG rainfall accumulation data indicated that Yutu frequently produced rainfall totals greater than 10 inches along it's current track.
October 24, 2018
GPM visualization of Typhoon Yutu
NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory satellite captured an image of Super Typhoon Yutu when it flew over the powerful storm just as the center was striking the central Northern Mariana Islands north of Guam. Early on October 25, 2018 Super Typhoon Yutu crossed over the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. The National Weather Service in Guam said it was the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year.
October 12, 2018
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation from Hurricane Michael
At least eleven deaths have now been attributed to deadly hurricane Michael. Some casualties resulted not only from Michael's destructive winds and storm surges but also from the blinding rain that Michael produced as it battered states from Florida northeastward through Virginia. Today tropical storm Michael is moving out over the Atlantic Ocean and has transitioned into a powerful extratropical storm.   This animation using the GPM IMERG multi-satellite dataset shows the estimated total rainfall accumulation for...
October 10, 2018
GPM IMERG precip measurements from Hurricane Michael
Video of GPM Rainfall Data From Michael This animation shows the NASA Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) rainfall accumulation estimates from Hurricane Michael October 1- 5, 2018 when rainfall was getting more concentrated over the western Caribbean. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM's constellation of satellites provides rainfall data to make rainfall estimates. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. IMERG indicated...
October 8, 2018
GPM overpass of hurricane michael on 10/8/18
The GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) has 13 channels that view different aspects of the hurricane in different ways. This overpass of Hurricane Michael on Oct. 8th, 2018 shows the combined low, mid, and high-frequency GMI channels along with the retrieved rain rate for the same overpass developed by combining all channels to understand the precipitation structure.
September 18, 2018
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulations from Typhoon Mangkhut.
Video of 7-Day Animation of Mangkhut Affecting the Philippines In the past week, Typhoon Mangkhut has affected the Philippines, mainland China, and Hong Kong, as shown in this 7-day animation of NASA's satellite-based IMERG precipitation product. The upper frame shows the storm-total accumulation starting at 0100 UTC on September 11, 2018. Storm-total accumulations in excess of 4 inches stretched from Manila to the northern tip of Luzon Island where the rainfall triggered deadly landslides. The lower frame shows the short-term accumulation in a 3-hour period that slides from the...
September 14, 2018
Precipitation rates within Hurricane Florence from the GPM IMERG "early run" half hourly data product, obtained 9/14/18 at 15:00 UTC.
UPDATE 9/18/18: Over the weekend #HurricaneFlorence brought torrential rains and record flooding to the Carolinas. This GPM IMERG visualization shows storm-total accumulated rainfall on the left for 9/12/18 - 9/17/18 vs. a sequence of 3-hour accumulations on the right https://t.co/numzHJXzb2 pic.twitter.com/pzAgkVrRXl— NASA Precipitation (@NASARain)...
September 14, 2018
GPM Core Observatory overpass of Hurricane Florence from 9/14/18 at 18:36 UTC. Ground track shows rain rates (mm/hr) from the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) instrument, 3D swath shows rain rates in the atmospheric column from the Dual-frequency Precipitation
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the GPM concept centers on the deployment of a “Core” satellite carrying an advanced radar / radiometer system to measure precipitation from space and serve as a reference standard to unify precipitation measurements from a constellation of research and operational satellites. Through improved measurements of precipitation globally, the GPM mission is...
September 10, 2018
GPM Core Observatory overpass of Hurricane Florence from September 7, 2018.
Video of GPM Observes Tropical Storm Florence Temporarily Weakened by Wind Shear   GPM passed over Tropical Storm Florence on September 7, 2018. As the camera moves in on the storm, DPR's volumetric view of the storm is revealed. A slicing plane moves across the volume to display precipitation rates throughout the storm. Shades of green to red represent liquid precipitation. Frozen precipitation is shown in cyan and purple. NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over Tropical Storm Florence on September 7, 2018. At that time, the...

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