Developed by the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission Education and Public Outreach Team NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Lesson: Observing Monsoon Weather Patterns with TRMM Data. Guiding Questions.
Global Precipitation Measurement Mission
Education and Public Outreach Team
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Local Precipitation: How do we know if it’s raining? How do we know if it rained yesterday or will rain tomorrow?
Global Precipitation: How do we know if it’s raining in other parts of the world? Where can we get that data?
Satellites: How do satellites like TRMM measure precipitation? What else can they tell us?
Precipitation Patterns: What are some patterns in the worldwide precipitation? What about patterns in smaller regions?
Surface Temperature: How can looking at the Earth’s surface temperature help explain monsoon weather patterns?
Images from Microsoft Office ClipArt, http://www.cocorahs.org/Content.aspx?page=measurerain, www.intellicast.com
Images from Microsoft Office ClipArt, http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/images_dir/trmm_photos.html
Our focus today: satellite data, especially from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)
As you learn about the instruments on TRMM, note important details on your capture sheet.
Image from http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/images_dir/trmm_photos.html
Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28, two days prior to landfall
The upper image shows the same 3-D view into Hurricane Sandy as the previous slide. (Click to go to an animation of the image). The lower image is microwave data showing rainfall totals, also for Sandy.
The GPM Core Observatory will provide improved measurements of precipitation from the tropics to higher latitudes
GPM is an international mission which will use inputs from an international constellation of satellites to provide improved space and time coverage of precipitation (rain, snow) over the globe
Let’s zoom in on a part of the world that may be familiar – the Eastern United States. Watch the animation and look for any seasonal patterns you see in the data.
Now that we have something for comparison, let’s focus on one small area of the globe that has very interesting precipitation patterns: India.
Image from http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Monsoon/
As you watch, look for any patterns in precipitation. When does it looks like different parts of India get the heaviest rainfall? Does all of the country get rain at the same time? Are there times when there is little to no rainfall in India?
Image from http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/Monsoon_frame.htm
We’ll look at some more satellite data about India shortly, but before that, just a reminder about what causes winds . . .
When air is cooled, it sinks, causing high pressure.
When air is heated, it rises, causing low pressure.
So winds blow from high to low pressure.
Now let’s look at WHY India experiences a monsoon weather pattern. Keep the cause of wind in mind, as well as the fact that wind will pick up extra moisture when it blows across water. Here’s another animation of satellite data – this time of the Earth’s skin surface temperature. Make note of the patterns you observe.
NOVA: “Earth From Space” – Monitoring Earth’s Water Vapor
BBC: Monsoons Flood in Pakistan
Image source: http://www.geo.arizona.edu/Antevs/ecol438/monsoon.gif via http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/edu/k12/.monsoons (also source of text)
Monsoons are massive, seasonally changing sea breeze circulations that form due to temperature differences between land and ocean.