85th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 9 January 2005
Developing Online Precipitation Visualization Systems for Education
Zhong Liu, George Mason University/CSISS, Fairfax, VA and NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and H. Rui, W. Teng, and L. Chiu
Poster PDF (288.7 kB)
Precipitation is an important atmospheric variable in our daily life. Each year, floods and droughts happen around the world, causing heavy property damage and human casualties. Traditionally rain gauge measured precipitation is the main source for weather forecast and research. However, satellite remote sensing has increasingly become important in providing precipitation information over vastly undersampled oceans and continents. In particular, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint U.S.-Japan satellite mission to monitor tropical and subtropical (40 S - 40 N) precipitation and to estimate its associated latent heating. The TRMM satellite provides the first detailed and comprehensive dataset on the four dimensional distribution of rainfall and latent heating over vastly undersampled tropical and subtropical oceans and continents. The TRMM satellite was launched on November 27, 1997. TRMM data products are archived at and distributed by the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC).

To encourage students, especially those underrepresented minority students, to consider academic, operational or research careers in geosciences, it is necessary to let them participate in earth science education and applications as early/frequently as possible and expose to hands-on projects. However, existing issues in data accessing, such as, data format, data volume, etc. are the major hurdles for conducting these activities.

The GES DISC has taken a major step towards meeting these challenges. TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, URL: http://lake.nascom.nasa.gov/tovas), developed by the hydrology data support team at the GES DISC, provides a fast and easy way for a wide variety of users to obtain global precipitation information over the Internet. TOVAS allows users to plot, subset and output TRMM Level 3 data products that range from 3-hourly near-real-time to monthly. Simple functions, such as, area averaging and accumulating, allow users to quickly obtain precipitation characteristics in areas of their interests. Time series allows users to understand 3-hourly, daily, seasonal to interannual variations. An ASCII output capability allows users to use subsetting data for their own research and applications. In the presentation, examples of using TOVAS in earth science education activities will be presented. We welcome feedback and collaborations from educators and students.

Supplementary URL: http://lake.nascom.nasa.gov/tovas/