Snow events that occurred in CONUS, east of the Rocky Mountains, between March 2014 and February 2016 were collected. Only a number of these collected events were studied due to GPM’s lack of coverage of an event or a lack of observations available for an event. Ground observations were used for validation. Observations that reported snow were compared with GPM’s precipRateNearSurface and phaseNearSurface variables. The observed snowfall intensity (light, moderate, or heavy) and precipitation rate were compared to determine common precipitation rates for snowfall intensities. The observed visibility was also compared with the precipitation rate to determine if there was any correlation. The phase of precipitation, measured by GPM, was compared with the observations to determine if GPM detected snow when the observation reported snow.
This study found that GPM can detect snow when it is snowing which confirms the main objective of this study. It was also found that precipitation rates correlate with snowfall intensity. For example, precipitation rates were higher for moderate snow than for light snow. Visibilities do not necessarily correlate with precipitation rates. It was expected that visibility would decrease with an increase in precipitation rate, but this was not the case for light snow observations.