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Monday, March 2, 2015

Global Rainfall and Snowfall Animation from NASA





I love entertainment animations, but I also love science ones that expand your mind and your horizons.

This is a cutting edge animation from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center which uses data from the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission to illustrate rainfall and snowfall patterns around the globe. It depicts the period from April to September 2014. The animation covers the 87 percent of the Earth that falls between 60 degrees north and 60 degrees south latitude, as updated every half hour during that time - so, for all intents and purposes in an animation of this length, it is continuous.

The narration during the animation explains everything very succinctly.

The GPM Core Oberservatory (as it is called) was launched on 27 February 2014. It is a collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. It is an active project, updated every half hour, that allows scientists to observe almost in real time precipitation events around the world. It is composed of a string of 12 satellites ("IMERG") that funnel data to the central collection point at Goddard.

If you think that precipitation is unimportant or tedious to consider, you probably don't live in California. NASA itself puts it this way:
Falling rain and snow are essential parts of Earth’s water cycle, which moves water and heat energy around Earth. Near the equator where the sun’s heat drives evaporation that keeps the air moist, rain systems move westward in a steady stream. At higher latitudes, which have not previously been observed in 3-D with high-resolution precipitation sensors, enormous storm fronts march eastward across North America and Europe in the Northern Hemisphere, and across the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica.
As a bonus from 2010, below is an animation that shows global air circulation as simulated by the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The simulation spans one calendar year, and it consists of hourly data. Cloud cover appears whitish with areas of precipitation shown in orange.


Thanks for watching.

2015

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