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NASA Wallops Flight Facility Precipitation Science Research Facility

GPM Precipitation Science Research Facility at Wallops Flight Facility

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has a long and distinguished record as a world-class research and development center in precipitation science. As the lead institute for the highly successful Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission, GSFC has played a prominent role in advancing space-based precipitation measurement, analysis, and applications. GPM is a constellation-based international satellite mission led by NASA and JAXA in partnership with other domestic and international space agencies to provide next-generation unified precipitation measurements from space, with the ultimate goal of developing high-resolution, near real-time global precipitation data products by combining all available information from space and ground-based measurements.

NASA has extended GPM/PMM ground-validation (GV) activities through the development of a WFF-based network of state-of-the-art GPM GV rain gauge, disdrometer and multi-parameter radar measurements geared toward validating NASA precipitation products (spaceborne and/or combined ground and spaceborne retrieval algorithms and physics). Core components of this activity also focus on the design of new GV instruments, test new GV measurement methods, and assess GV instrument measurement uncertainties. The contingent of GPM GV instruments, associated staff, and regional data collections comprise the "core" components of the WFF Precipitation Science Research Facility.

High Density Rain Gauge Network

The gauge and disdrometer network will be composed of a tightly spaced instrument cluster located within 40 km range of the NPOL and D3R radars, The cluster will be designed using 20-25 rain gauge pairs designed by the University of Iowa 50 gauges) with an intergauge separation of 500 m - 1000 m and several nested Parsivel and 2D Video disdrometers placed within an area of O[25 km2]. Note that the referenced instrumentation is currently in the GPM GV inventory. In subsequent stages, the rain gauge array would be augmented with other multi-parameter radars, additional gauge and disdrometer networks, several vertically profiling micro rain radars (MRR), as well as a Lightning Mapping Array (LMA).

From early 2012 through much of 2013, this high-density grid was located near Nassawadox, Virginia; however, now that the NPOL radar is being deployed in Newark, MarylanD (8/2013) when not being used in GPM field campaigns, the existing network will be moved nearer to Pocomoke, MD.

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