Global Precipitation Core Observatory Launched

Global Precipitation Core Observatory Launched



3 March 2014

WMO welcomes the successful launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

“The GPM Core Observatory, unified with a fleet of satellites, airborne and ground based observations, will form the very first integrated constellation mapping precipitation covering the Antarctic and Arctic Circles,” said Wenjian Zhang, Director of WMO Observing and Information Systems Department. “It will advance our understanding of the global water and energycycle, and improve our understanding the climate system. It represents a major scientific advance which will truly benefit humanity.”

The four-ton spacecraft was launched into space from Japan early Friday 28 February. It will collect information that unifies and improves data from an international constellation of existing and future satellites by mapping global precipitation every three hours. 

It will improve upon the capabilities of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), a joint NASA-JAXA mission launched in 1997 and still in operation. While TRMM measured precipitation in the tropics, the GPM Core Observatory expands the coverage area from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. GPM will also be able to detect light rain and snowfall, a major source of available fresh water in some regions.

GPM contributes to the WMO Space-based Global Observing System and to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Precipitation Constellation. Data from the GPM Core Observatory will inform a range of WMO application areas such as agricultural meteorology, hydrology, and climate monitoring.

GPM will also provide new insights for research on precipitation formation, the hydrological cycle, and climate change and variability. Its data will help  improve forecasts of the intensity of tropical cyclones and extreme events. It will also strengthen water resource management and food security:  major challenges in view of our changing climate and top priorities for the Global Framework for Climate Services, a WMO-spearheaded initiative to provide better climate information and services around the world.

More information from JAXA

NASA press release

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