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Know Your Earth 3.0: GPM
GPM banner with Dalia Bach Kirschbaum

About Dalia Bach Kirschbaum

Dalia Bach Kirschbaum currently serves as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission applications scientist, where she works with the GPM project science team to communicate societal applications of the GPM data to potential data users. She is also the GPM education and outreach coordinator, working with a diverse team to develop and carry out educational projects across a range of subjects, audiences and media. She is currently a research physical scientist in hydrological science at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where she uses satellite data to assess natural hazards, specifically landslides triggered by rainfall.

Kirschbaum grew up in St. Louis Park, Minn. She went to St. Louis Park High School, where she always had an affinity towards math, but was unsure how to turn it into a career. At Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., she found out how after taking a course that combined math and science with real world examples like beach erosion and tornado touchdowns. For Kirschbaum, that class marked the beginning of discovering the many applications and career opportunities in Earth science that affect so many people's daily lives. She earned her bachelor's degree in geosciences in 2004. She then went on to earn her master's and doctorate from the environmental sciences department at Columbia University, New York from 2004 to 2009, where her fascination with Earth science focused on understanding natural disasters.

As part of her work, Kirschbaum looks at where and when rain-triggered landslides occur worldwide, using models to understand the relationship between landslides and rain events. Rainfall is a key variable in estimating the timing and distribution of rainfall-triggered landslides, and Kirschbaum's work centers on combining information from the surface and satellites on slope conditions. She uses rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the upcoming GPM mission to determine the potential for landslide activity around the globe. Her research applies remote sensing data to landslide applications on multiple scales, from individual cities to the whole world and from hourly to annual time periods.

About GPM

Image of Hurricane Katrina taken by TRMM on August 29, 2005.
A TRMM image of Hurricane Katrina approaching the Louisiana coast in 2005.
Credit: NASA

Building off the successful legacy of NASA's TRMM, GPM is an international satellite mission to provide next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch a Core Observatory satellite carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space. The data they provide will be used to unify precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world. The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society.

GPM Core Observatory being loaded into the thermal vacuum chamber for testing

The GPM Core Observatory being loaded into the thermal vacuum chamber for testing.
Credit: NASA
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Launched in 1997, TRMM measures moderate and heavy rainfall in the tropics. TRMM has shown the importance of taking measurements at different times of day to improve observations of weather systems and real-time monitoring of hurricanes. TRMM's unique ability to see hurricanes in 3-D has also provided valuable insight into estimating when hurricanes may intensify. TRMM has been providing data for 15 years and is able to view Earth from the top of the continental United States to the tip of South America.

Additional Links

› Know Your Earth 3.0
› GPM Mission
› Precipitation Measurement Missions
› Precipitation education resources
› NASA Science GPM
› TRMM and GPM Twitter
› Precipitation Measurement Missions on Facebook
› GPM YouTube