Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Airborne science laboratory treks to Great White North to study snow

Date:
January 18, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Beginning Jan. 17, NASA will fly an airborne science laboratory, including a unique airborne radar built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., above Canadian snowstorms to tackle a difficult challenge facing the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission -- measuring snowfall from space.

NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory soars over the Pinnacles near Mount Whitney, Calif., during a checkout flight in the winter of 1998. The aircraft will validate several specialized instruments, including a JPL airborne radar, for the future Global Precipitation Measurement satellite during a six-week airborne campaign over Ontario, Canada in late January through February.
Credit: NASA DFRC/Jim Ross

Beginning Jan. 17, NASA will fly an airborne science laboratory, including a unique airborne radar built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., above Canadian snowstorms to tackle a difficult challenge facing the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission -- measuring snowfall from space.

GPM is an international satellite mission that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space, providing next-generation observations of worldwide rain and snow every three hours. It is also the first mission designed to detect falling snow from space.

"Snow is notoriously hard to measure as it falls," said Walter Petersen, the GPM ground validation scientist at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. "Snowflakes contain varying amounts of air and water, and they flutter, wobble and drift as they leave the clouds."

Knowing how "wet" a snowflake is allows scientists to measure overall water content. A wet, heavy snow can shut down a city, and melted snow is a crucial source of freshwater in many areas.

Working with Environment Canada, NASA's GPM Cold-season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) will measure light rain and snow in Ontario from Jan. 17 to Feb. 29. The field campaign is designed to improve satellite estimates of falling snow and test ground validation capabilities in advance of the planned launch of the GPM Core satellite in 2014.

NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory will fly out of Bangor, Maine, carrying radar and a radiometer that will simulate the measurements to be taken from space by GPM. At an altitude of 33,000 feet (10 kilometers), the DC-8 will make multiple passes over an extensive ground network of snow gauges and sensors at Environment Canada's Center for Atmospheric Research Experiments north of Toronto.

The GCPEx field experiment will help scientists match measurements of snow in the air and on the ground with the satellite's measurements.

The radar on the NASA DC-8 is JPL's Airborne Precipitation Radar-2 (APR-2) dual-frequency radar. The radar looks downward and scans its antenna across-track, acquiring a three-dimensional image of precipitation underneath the aircraft. At each point in this 3-D image, APR-2 measures several characteristics of the precipitation, including its radar reflectivity, or "brightness," and its motion. During GCPEx, APR-2 will simulate the type of measurements GPM will make. Its data will be used to improve understanding of snowfall microphysics and to develop and test algorithms for use with the GPM radar, which will operate on the same 13- and 35-gigahertz frequencies.

For more information and images, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/NewsReleases/2012/12-02.html .

For more on APR-2, visit: http://trmm.jpl.nasa.gov/apr.html .

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Airborne science laboratory treks to Great White North to study snow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111111.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, January 18). Airborne science laboratory treks to Great White North to study snow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111111.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Airborne science laboratory treks to Great White North to study snow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111111.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
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