New NASA satellite to study Earth's climate

New NASA satellite to study Earth's climate

New NASA satellite to study Earth's climate

NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA are teaming up to launch a new weather satellite in February 2014, to improve environmental research and weather forecasts worldwide.

On February 28, NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch a Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center.

GPM is an international satellite mission that will provide advanced observations of rain and snowfall worldwide, several times a day to enhance understanding of the water and energy cycles that drive Earth's climate, NASA said.

The data provided by the Core Observatory will be used to calibrate precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world.

"Launching this core observatory and establishing the Global Precipitation Measurement mission is vitally important for environmental research and weather forecasting," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in Washington.

"Knowing rain and snow amounts accurately over the whole globe is critical to understanding how weather and climate impact agriculture, fresh water availability, and responses to natural disasters," said Freilich.

"We will use data from the GPM mission not only for Earth science research but to improve weather forecasting and respond to meteorological disasters," said Shizuo Yamamoto, executive director of JAXA.

"We would also like to aid other countries in the Asian region suffering from flood disasters by providing data for flood alert systems. Our dual-frequency precipitation radar, developed with unique Japanese technologies, plays a central role in the GPM mission," said Yamamoto.
The GPM Core Observatory builds on the sensor technology developed for the TRMM mission, with two innovative new instruments, NASA said.

The GPM Microwave Imager will observe rainfall and snowfall at 13 different frequencies.
The Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar transmits radar frequencies that will detect ice and light rain, as well as heavier rainfall. It also will be able to measure the size and distribution of raindrops, snowflakes and ice particles.