Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Unique NASA Satellite Watches Rainfall from Space


Your local weather forecaster uses Doppler radar systems, covering U.S. regions, to estimate rainfall and flooding, but NASA research satellites can see rainfall worldwide.

Data from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)satellite, along with information from other satellites, allows researchers to see how much rain is falling over most of the world every three hours. This capability enables scientists to daily map areas of potential flooding.

These maps, available to the public on the Internet, will help water resource managers and scientists around the world by providing near-real time data of rainfall and flood potential. TRMM is considered a unique "rain gauge in the sky," because its instruments can look into clouds to determine rainfall, while other satellites can only see flooded areas after floods have occurred.

Because of its extraordinary capability, TRMM is used to calibrate and fine-tune measurements of rainfall taken by other satellites, leading to current updated records on a global scale. Once baselines are established, researchers use the higher quality TRMM data wherever possible and fill in the gaps with data from other satellites to get a more complete picture of rainfall around the world.

"This ability to detect potential floods is extremely useful for disaster monitoring," said Robert Adler, TRMM Project scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

"The rainfall maps are also useful in assessing the state of crops in remote regions, especially in the tropics," he said.

Maps that show areas of potential floods use precipitation radar data and high-resolution measurements of water content of clouds made by microwave radiometers. The maps span the Earth from 50 degrees north latitude to 50 degrees south latitude (an area just north of the U.S.-Canadian border and south to the tip of Argentina).

There are three variations of the rainfall accumulation maps, including 24-hour maps showing areas where more than 35 mm (1.37 inches) of rain has accumulated; maps with three-day accumulations of more than 100 mm (3.93 inches); and maps depicting areas with weeklong accumulations of more than 200 mm (7.87 inches).

Another map product, updated every three hours, shows a global snapshot of rainfall. A seven-day "movie loop" of the images allows users to track storms as they travel over land and oceans around the globe. Researchers use these near-global rainfall maps to monitor formation and dissipation of El Nino/Southern Oscillation conditions, soil moisture, and ocean salinity. These maps also are useful to water resource managers and farmers around the world.

The Adler led team of NASA scientists produced these TRMM rainfall and flood potential maps. The maps merge data from the TRMM Microwave Imager Precipitation Radar with information from other microwave satellites and geosynchronous weather satellite infrared data. Exploiting the strengths of multiple data sources increases the accuracy of the maps.

TRMM is a joint U.S.-Japanese mission and part of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research program designed to study the Earth’s land, oceans, air, ice and life as a total system. The TRMM satellite was launched on November 27, 1997.

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather and natural hazards, using the unique vantage point of space.

For information and TRMM images on the Internet, visit:

For information about TRMM rain and flood maps on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA and Earth Science projects on the Internet, visit:

Krishna Ramanujan | Goddard Space Flight Center
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>