Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

TRMM satellite proves El Nino holds the reins on global rains

09.11.2004


NASA scientists recently found the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the main driver of the change in rain patterns all around the world.



The NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite has enabled scientists to look around the globe and determine where the year-to-year changes in rainfall are greatest. The TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and JAXA designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall.

Researchers Ziad Haddad and Jonathan Meagher of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Robert Adler and Eric Smith of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., used TRMM data to identify areas where the year-to-year change in rainfall between 1998 and 2003 was greatest.


By studying the rain patterns in these areas over the past 50 years, with rain gauge data prior to 1998, they established the main component of this change in global rainfall is directly correlated with the El Nino Southern Oscillation. The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

Haddad and his colleagues compared local changes in worldwide rainfall. For years, scientists have known El Nino drastically modifies rainfall patterns in many regions. For example, Indonesia and the Northeastern Amazon basin consistently suffer droughts during El Nino and excessive rains during La Nina. The Southeastern United States and California are typically wetter than usual during El Nino and drier than usual during La Nina.

Scientists also have known several regions with abundant rain are not influenced by the El-Nino/La-Nina changes, including the Bay of Bengal and the vast expanse of the Western Pacific Ocean between the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and the Marianas.

Until the launch of TRMM in 1997, it was impossible to accurately measure change in tropical rainfall patterns, because no instruments were available to record global rainfall. TRMM uses microwave technology to probe through clouds and estimate how much rainfall they are producing. The TRMM data are invaluable over areas where there are no rain gauges, such as the open ocean.

Using TRMM’s measurements, the researchers were able to condense the year-to-year change in rainfall patterns into a single rain-change index. The index is a color-coded map that shows areas of rainfall around the world that are influenced somewhat to greatly, during an ENSO event.

Rainfall data from land and island stations were used to extend this index back in time and to compare it with the ENSO sea-surface temperature and atmospheric pressure. The results showed a strong relationship between the rainfall patterns and ENSO. "The fact that the rain-change index, which comes directly from global measurements, tracks the ENSO indices from the 1950s to the present confirms that El Nino is the principal driver of global year-to-year rainfall change," Haddad said.

NASA plans the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM), a future multi-national multi-satellite mission to expand the scope of TRMM. GPM will focus on producing three- dimensional maps of rain around the world every three hours.

TRMM is the first space-based rain gauge that uses microwaves to see how much precipitation falls from clouds around the tropics. The TRMM satellite’s precipitation radar acts like a highly sensitive microwave camera. It is capable of probing clouds to reveal their vertical structure and precipitation they produce. It has enabled scientists to measure rainfall over the oceans and landmasses with unprecedented accuracy.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Algorithm provides early warning system for tracking groundwater contamination
14.08.2018 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht Artificial Glaciers in Response to Climate Change?
10.08.2018 | Universität Heidelberg

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 interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>