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    New Satellite Measures Rain, Snow From Space to Enhance Forecasting

    By Erin Cassidy, AccuWeather staff writer
    February 26, 2014, 3:23:29 AM EST

    Rain and snow observations are about to become more sophisticated thanks to a new satellite that will be cruising 253 miles above Earth.

    Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is an international satellite mission to provide worldwide observations of rain and snow every three hours. NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch the GPM Core Observatory satellite on February 27 (scheduled) from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. The GPM Core Observatory will build on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM, launched 1997), which measures rainfall in the tropics, by extending measurements to cover the globe from the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle.


    GPM will help provide uniform, global observations of rain and snow that are difficult to obtain from ground measurements. Data from the GPM Core Observatory will help improve our understanding of the water cycle and its links to climate change. Data will also help improve hurricane monitoring and prediction, enhance weather and climate computer models, help improve forecasting of floods, droughts and landslides, contribute to better agricultural crop forecasting and help scientists better predict changes in fresh water supplies.

    Fast facts about the GPM Core Observatory:

    - It is the largest satellite assembled and tested at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. - It will fly at an altitude of 253 miles, covering an area spanning from the Antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle. - It will measure rain and snow using two instruments, the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI), which detects different kinds of precipitation, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which provides information about the three-dimensional structure of precipitation.

    Check out this video from NASA to learn more about the GPM Mission and its goals.

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