ESA hosts Workshop on Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission
This month over 100 scientists from all over the world will gather at ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands to take part in a three-day workshop dedicated to the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.
GPM is an international endeavour that aims to measure global precipitation from space every three hours. Because of the frequency with which data is recovered, this mission will advance weather forecasting and greatly improve the prediction of extreme events such as hurricanes, severe local storms and floods. It will also be used for predicting the availability of fresh water resources. Accurate global measurements of rainfall and its distribution will further our understanding of the water cycle and climate change.
In order to accurately measure precipitation all over the Earth every three hours, GPM has been designed as a constellation made up of one large ‘core’ satellite and a number of smaller satellites. ESA is currently investigating a European contribution to GPM by providing one of the smaller satellites that forms the constellation by way of an Earth Explorer Opportunity mission called EGPM. The EGPM mission will in particular address light rain and snowfall. It also focuses on real-time data delivery to provide decision makers with warnings regarding severe weather such as flash floods. The baseline instrument carried on EGPM will be a passive microwave radiometer. EGPM is currently undergoing feasibility study (Phase A) and launch is envisaged around 2008.
The GPM Workshop, which is the third of its kind, will be held on 24-26 June. The three-day event will provide the necessary forum for the participating partners to analyse the current status of the mission and discuss the overall science objectives. Other topics on the agenda include the technical aspects of the mission such as the constellation design and instrument concepts, as well as retrieval algorithms and product validation.
This workshop is an important milestone in the development of the GPM concept and its satellites. It promises to be a stimulating and interesting event that will take us one step closer to predicting severe weather events as well as advancing our understanding of the Earth’s climate and water cycle.