83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 1:30 PM
Leveraging Improvements in Precipitation Measuring from GPM Mission to Achieve Prediction Improvements in Climate, Weather & Hydrometeorology (Invited Presentation)
Eric A. Smith, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
The main scientific goal of the GPM mission, currently planned for start in the 2007 time frame, is to investigate important scientific problems arising within the context of global and regional water cycles. These problems cut across a hierarchy of scales and include climate-water cycle interactions, techniques for improving weather and climate predictions, and better methods for combining observed precipitation with hydrometeorological prediction models for applications to hazardous flood-producing storms, seasonal flood/draught conditions, and fresh water resource assessments. The GPM mission will expand the scope of precipitation measurement through the use of a constellation of some 9 satellites, one of which will be an advanced TRMM-like "core" satellite carrying a dual-frequency Ku-Ka band precipitation radar and an advanced, multifrequency passive microwave radiometer with vertical-horizontal polarization discrimination. The other constellation members will include new dedicated satellites and co-existing operational/research satellites carrying similar (but not identical) passive microwave radiometers. The goal of the constellation is to achieve approximately 3-hour sampling at any spot on the globe. The constellation's orbit architecture will consist of a mix of sun-synchronous and non-sun-synchronous satellites with the "core" satellite providing measurements of cloud-precipitation microphysical processes plus calibration-quality rainrate retrievals to be used with the other retrieval information to ensure bias-free constellation coverage.

GPM is organized internationally, currently involving a partnership between NASA in the US and the National Space Development Agency in Japan. Additionally, the program is actively pursuing agreements with other international partners and domestic scientific agencies and institutions, as well as participation by individual scientists from academia, government, and the private sector to fulfill mission goals and to pave the way for what ultimately is expected to become an internationally-organized operational global precipitation observing system. Notably, the broad societal applications of GPM are reflected in the United Nation's identification of this mission as a foremost candidate for its Peaceful Uses of Space Program.

In this presentation, an overview of the GPM mission design will be presented, followed by an explanation of its scientific agenda as an outgrowth of making improvements in rain retrieval accuracy, microphysics dexterity, sampling frequency, and global coverage. All of these improvements offer new means to observe variability in precipitation and water cycle fluxes and to achieve improved predictability of weather, climate, and hydrometeorology. Specifically, the scientific agenda of GPM has been designed to leverage the measurement improvements to improve prognostic model performance, particularly quantitative precipitation forecasting and its linked phenomena at short, intermediate, and extended time scales. The talk will address how GPM measurements will enable better detection of accelerations and decelerations in regional and global water cycle processes and their relationship to climate variability, better impacts of precipitation data assimilation on numerical weather prediction and global climate reanalysis, and better performance from basin scale hydrometeorological models for short and long term flood-drought forecasting and seasonal fresh water resource assessment. Improved hydrometeorological forecasting will be possible by using continuous global precipitation observations to obtain better closure in water budgets and to generate more realistic forcing of the models themselves to achieve more accurate estimates of interception, infiltration, vaporation/transpiration fluxes, storage, and runoff.

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