Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Satellite Used To Improve Rainfall Forecasting Accuracy

Date:
January 13, 2000
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
New research shows that the accuracy of three-day rainfall forecasts in the tropics can be improved by as much as 100% percent by combining existing forecast models with satellite rainfall data.

Jan. 12, 2000 -- New research shows that the accuracy of three-day rainfall forecasts in the tropics can be improved by as much as 100% percent by combining existing forecast models with satellite rainfall data. These findings were presented today at the annual American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) meeting this week in Long Beach, Calif. These findings also will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Climate.

Researchers at Florida State University have found that by adding rainfall observations collected by NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and other meteorological satellites to forecast models, they can more than triple the accuracy of rainfall forecasts for the first 12 hours of the forecast.

In addition, they found that using the past rainfall data collected from defense meteorological satellites and NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft could be used to increase the forecast skill even further. Their method examines the behavior of a number of different forecast models and selects those properties from each model that lead to the true rainfall as observed by the TRMM satellite in the past. These model properties are then used to predict the rainfall for 3 days into the future with remarkable success.

"Including rainfall into the multi-forecast model, or superensemble model is a unique approach," said Prof. T.N. Krishnamurti, the paper's lead author and a TRMM scientist at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla. "Overall we’re most interested in improving the three-day rainfall forecast skills. Our research has shown that the global, as well as the regional skills, using the multi-analysis superensemble, are higher with TRMM research data."

These forecast results are based on five experiments each during Aug. 1 to Aug. 5, 1998. The skill or accuracy was higher over all tropical regions. Scientists attribute this success to a combination of improved analyses available from the superensemble approach as well as the availability of accurate rainfall estimates over the tropics from the TRMM satellite.

For years, scientists have attempted to improve the short-term forecasts in the tropics, but only minor improvements were made. Now, with research data from the NASA TRMM spacecraft, scientists will more accurately, or with greater reliability, forecast rainfall in the tropics. This is particularly important when it comes to hurricane tracks and rainfall accumulations. Experimental forecasts made by this new technique during the ’99 hurricane season, for instance, correctly forecast the track of major hurricanes such as Dennis and Floyd.

Scientists have a keen interest in how potential changes in the global climate might affect the associated rainfall patterns as they affect human activities. "Making such improvements in even the short term forecasts", says Chris Kummerow, the TRMM project Scientist, "is important because it demonstrates that we are learning more about the behavior of rainfall within these models. Understanding rainfall patterns generated by our global climate models is an extremely difficult problem", he said. "Having additional information available from these weather forecast models has not only the obvious benefit of better short term forecasts, but may also help shed additional light upon the climate models.

In his paper, Krishnamurti highlights the various research methods used to come to these conclusions.

TRMM is NASA's first mission dedicated to observing and understanding tropical rainfall and how it affects the global climate. The TRMM spacecraft fills an enormous void in the ability to calculate world-wide precipitation because so little of the planet is covered by ground-based radars. Presently, only two percent of the area covered by TRMM is covered by ground-based radars, said Dr. Christian Kummerow, TRMM Project Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md..

TRMM has produced continuous data since December 1997. Tropical rainfall, which falls between 35 degrees north latitude and 35 degrees south latitude, comprises more than two-thirds of the rainfall on Earth.

TRMM is a U.S.-Japanese mission and part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research program designed to study the Earth's land, oceans, air, ice and life as a total system. Information and images from the TRMM mission are available on the Internet at URL: http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/. More information on AMS is available at: http://www.ametsoc.org/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA Satellite Used To Improve Rainfall Forecasting Accuracy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080332.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2000, January 13). NASA Satellite Used To Improve Rainfall Forecasting Accuracy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080332.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA Satellite Used To Improve Rainfall Forecasting Accuracy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080332.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins