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  • Author or Editor: Wesley Berg x
  • Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM): Science and Applications x
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Wesley Berg, Stephen Bilanow, Ruiyao Chen, Saswati Datta, David Draper, Hamideh Ebrahimi, Spencer Farrar, W. Linwood Jones, Rachael Kroodsma, Darren McKague, Vivienne Payne, James Wang, Thomas Wilheit, and John Xun Yang


The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is a constellation-based satellite mission designed to unify and advance precipitation measurements using both research and operational microwave sensors. This requires consistency in the input brightness temperatures (Tb), which is accomplished by intercalibrating the constellation radiometers using the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) as the calibration reference. The first step in intercalibrating the sensors involves prescreening the sensor Tb to identify and correct for calibration biases across the scan or along the orbit path. Next, multiple techniques developed by teams within the GPM Intersatellite Calibration Working Group (XCAL) are used to adjust the calibrations of the constellation radiometers to be consistent with GMI. Comparing results from multiple approaches helps identify flaws or limitations of a given technique, increase confidence in the results, and provide a measure of the residual uncertainty. The original calibration differences relative to GMI are generally within 2–3 K for channels below 92 GHz, although AMSR2 exhibits larger differences that vary with scene temperature. SSMIS calibration differences also vary with scene temperature but to a lesser degree. For SSMIS channels above 150 GHz, the differences are generally within ~2 K with the exception of SSMIS on board DMSP F19, which ranges from 7 to 11 K colder than GMI depending on frequency. The calibrations of the cross-track radiometers agree very well with GMI with values mostly within 0.5 K for the Sondeur Atmosphérique du Profil d’Humidité Intertropicale par Radiométrie (SAPHIR) and the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) sensors, and within 1 K for the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS).

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Walter A. Petersen, Wesley Berg, Chris Kidd, Erich F. Stocker, Dalia B. Kirschbaum, Ramesh Kakar, Scott A. Braun, George J. Huffman, Toshio Iguchi, Pierre E. Kirstetter, Christian Kummerow, Robert Meneghini, Riko Oki, William S. Olson, Yukari N. Takayabu, Kinji Furukawa, and Thomas Wilheit


Precipitation is a key source of freshwater; therefore, observing global patterns of precipitation and its intensity is important for science, society, and understanding our planet in a changing climate. In 2014, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory (CO) spacecraft. The GPM CO carries the most advanced precipitation sensors currently in space including a dual-frequency precipitation radar provided by JAXA for measuring the three-dimensional structures of precipitation and a well-calibrated, multifrequency passive microwave radiometer that provides wide-swath precipitation data. The GPM CO was designed to measure rain rates from 0.2 to 110.0 mm h−1 and to detect moderate to intense snow events. The GPM CO serves as a reference for unifying the data from a constellation of partner satellites to provide next-generation, merged precipitation estimates globally and with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Through improved measurements of rain and snow, precipitation data from GPM provides new information such as details on precipitation structure and intensity; observations of hurricanes and typhoons as they transition from the tropics to the midlatitudes; data to advance near-real-time hazard assessment for floods, landslides, and droughts; inputs to improve weather and climate models; and insights into agricultural productivity, famine, and public health. Since launch, GPM teams have calibrated satellite instruments, refined precipitation retrieval algorithms, expanded science investigations, and processed and disseminated precipitation data for a range of applications. The current status of GPM, its ongoing science, and its future plans are presented.

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