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Get the latest GPM, TRMM, and ground validation news, and learn about Earth's weather and climate.

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GPM Mission Applications

Water is fundamental to life on Earth. Knowing where and how much precipitation falls globally is vital to understanding how weather and climate impact our environment, including the effects on agriculture, fresh water availability and natural disasters. The use of advanced spaceborne instruments to measure global precipitation every three hours can reveal new information for a diverse range of applications across agencies, research institutions and the global community.

Among the applications of GPM mission data are improvements to our understanding and forecasting of tropical cyclones, extreme weather, floods, landslides, land surface models, the spread of water-borne diseases, agriculture, freshwater availability and climate change. Data from the GPM Core Observatory, combined with data from other satellites within the constellation, will lead to advances in precipitation measurement science that will subsequently benefit society for years to come.

Extended Capabilities in Monitoring and Predicting Hurricanes

Watch "The Trouble With Irene" to learn how GPM will help study hurricanes beyond the tropics.
Download in HD from the Scientific Visualization Studio

Satellites allow us to observe changes in the precipitation structure over the life cycle of a storm, especially over oceans and regions where ground-based data are sparse. In particular, TRMM has provided insights into the dynamics of a storm, such as how the eye of a hurricane stays stable as the storm moves across Earth’s surface, and how tropical cyclone intensification can be estimated through the presence of hot tower structures. In this image, hot towers (red spikes) present in Hurricane Katrina were observed as the storm was intensifying. The GPM mission will extend coverage and improve scientists’ ability to evaluate how storms change in intensity over time. These observations will improve hurricane tracking and forecasts, which can help decision makers save lives.

Enhanced Prediction Skills for Weather and Climate

To predict future changes in weather and climate, scientists use sophisticated computer models. These models rely on available global data to describe the conditions that exist today to project how conditions may change in the future. By providing measurements of precipitation microphysics, GPM advances Earth system analysis and modeling.

Improved Forecasting Capabilities for Floods, Droughts and Landslides

Watch "Too Much, Too Little" to learn how GPM will help predict natural hazards like floods and droughts.
Download in HD from the Scientific Visualization Studio

Too much or too little rain can have huge impacts on people around the world. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2011), an increase in the average global temperature is very likely to lead to changes in precipitation and atmospheric moisture, including shifts towards more extreme precipitation during storms. Data from GPM satellites will help improve forecasting capabilities for natural hazards such as floods, drought and landslides.

Better Agricultural Crop Forecasting

The agricultural community needs to know the timing and amount of precipitation to forecast crop yields and warn of freshwater shortages that might affect irrigation and production. Satellite data from the GPM mission will provide global precipitation estimates over land that can be incorporated into forecast models.

Monitoring Freshwater Resources

Water resource managers rely on accurate precipitation measurements to monitor freshwater resources necessary for human activities including public consumption, irrigation, sanitation, mining, livestock and powering industries. Global observations of precipitation from the GPM constellation of satellites will allow scientist to better understand and predict changes in freshwater supply.

Page Last Updated: January 17th, 2014
Page Editor: Jacob Reed