NASA Heads to Pacific Northwest for Field Campaign to Measure Rain and Snowfall

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NASA and university scientists are holding to a margin to investigate soppy winter continue nearby Seattle, Washington. With continue radars, continue balloons, specialized belligerent instruments, and NASA’s DC-8 drifting laboratory, a scholarship group will be verifying sleet and layer observations done by a Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

The Pacific Northwest was selected since of a visit and determined winter sleet and snowfall. On normal 100 to 180 inches of flood tumble a year, creation it one of a few rainforests outward of a tropics in a world.

“The time that we’re out there is a wettest time of a year,” pronounced Lynn McMurdie, comparison investigate scientist and plan manager for OLYMPEX during a University of Washington in Seattle, that is hosting a campaign. “We don’t get a lot of complicated rain, though we have solid rain,” she said. Nov alone gets an normal of 16 inches, and heavier rainfall events make a segment disposed to floods, landslides and other rain-related hazards.

A cloudy, misty Lake Quinault, by a margin sites, in late Oct only before a start of a campaign. Credits: Joe Zagrodnik/University of Washington.

A cloudy, misty Lake Quinault, by a margin sites, in late Oct only before a start of a campaign.
Credits: Joe Zagrodnik/University of Washington.

Drenching storms arrive from a Pacific Ocean, roving over a seashore and into a Olympic Mountains reduction than fifty miles away. Once in a mountains, a slopes act like rocks in a river, forcing a clouds in a charge complement adult and around and effectively changing a impression of a precipitation. Following a charge systems’ march from a sea to a plateau provides a scholarship group with a healthy laboratory of rarely non-static turf that leads to rarely non-static conditions for rainfall and layer – that are formidable to magnitude from space since they change fast over brief distances.

GPM is an general goal led by NASA and a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to observe rainfall and layer around a world. The module is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The modernized instruments on a GPM Core Observatory satellite, launched Feb. 27, 2014, yield a subsequent era of flood measurements, including a new capability to detect sleet and light rain.

“The GPM goal is up. We’re drifting right now. We’re creation measurements. So a questions are, what can we do right now and what do we have to do to improve?” pronounced Walt Petersen, GPM’s emissary plan scientist for belligerent validation during NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who is heading a margin campaign, called OLYMPEX, brief for Olympic Mountain Experiment.

The trailer is used to mountain instruments to magnitude sleet and sleet above accumulating sleet pack. The instruments on a trailer work unmanned via a winter season. Credits: University of Washington

The trailer is used to mountain instruments to magnitude sleet and sleet above accumulating sleet pack. The instruments on a trailer work unmanned via a winter season.
Credits: University of Washington

“We’ve designed an examination where we have aircraft that are sanctimonious to be a satellite,” pronounced Bob Houze, highbrow of Atmospheric Science during a University of Washington and principal questioner of a campaign.

NASA’s DC-8 drifting laboratory, managed by NASA’s Armstrong Research Center in Palmdale, California, will fly during an altitude of 36,000 feet above charge clouds that proceed a Quinault and Chelhalis River basins on a Olympic Peninsula. In mid-November it will be assimilated by NASA’s ER-2 aircraft, saved by NASA’s Radar Experiment to investigate clouds, that will fly during 65,000 feet. Both planes will lift instruments identical to those flown in space to copy satellite observations. At a same time, another aircraft, a University of North Dakota Citation, will be drifting by a clouds holding approach measurements of a droplets and ice crystals within.

On a ground, modernized continue radars will be looking adult during a clouds, study their inner structure and how it changes as a storms pierce from a sea inland. Arrays of sleet gauges and other instruments on a belligerent will collect information on how most rainfall or layer reaches a surface. They will also picture and count particular raindrops and snowflakes to consider on a micro-scale what complicated or light sleet or layer looks like.

“This smoke-stack of measurements lets us bond a dots between what we see from space, what happens in a clouds and what we magnitude on a ground,” pronounced Petersen. In addition, a minute belligerent measurements assistance a scholarship group know a elemental processes within clouds that means opposite forms of sleet to form.

“All of these measurements are directed during last if a assumptions that we’re creation about interpreting a satellite measurements are correct,” pronounced Houze.

Light rain, complicated rain, layer – any form of flood has a opposite “signature” seen by a satellite, and those signatures change depending on a distance of a flood droplets or ice crystals and a power with that they fall. The GPM satellite scholarship group designs and uses mechanism programs that automatically modify those signatures into sleet and sleet rates and estimates of how most has fallen. Those programs engage assumptions about a inlet of a raindrops and ice particles inside a clouds that are not in a observations though might impact a estimates.

The same volume of rainfall can start due to dual opposite sets of cloud conditions. So removing those assumptions right is critical in sequence to revoke inaccuracies for when those opposite conditions lead to opposite results, Houze said. And not only for a satellite measurements. The same forms of assumptions are used in day-to-day continue forecasting.

“We wish to know that we’re removing a right volume for a right reasons,” Houze said.

Source: NASA