HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- NASA is launching a new satellite to help measure and collect precipitation data around the world.
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite that launched Thursday from Japan is a cutting edge satellite that will measure rain and snow from space.
What the satellite will be able to do is take cat-scan like images from above the earth, in 3-mile square grids.
By studying and monitoring global precipitation it will be helpful with determining not just daily weather, but it will be beneficial in major events like floods, hurricanes, or droughts.
The satellite will circle the Earth every 90 minutes.
Believe it or not, there are still many questions about the clouds and the precipitation that form over us.
This satellite mission is going to put some of the most advanced instruments scientists have into space.
Dr. Walt Petersen, a NASA scientist, compares the GPM satellite to a flying physics laboratory, "thereby proving a uniform and accurate measurement of precipitation, over the entire globe every three hours."
Peterson explained that with the rapid update, the actual data will be available soon after. "Within about an hour of each real time data collection we'll be able to start to see images, and it will be about three hours for the remainder.
Not only will this monitor current precipitation, but this new satellite can help with flood forecasting, and hurricane intensification.
"Precipitation doesn't really know any boundaries and neither does water vapor, and both of those things are really important to weather prediction models. Where and when and how much rainfall falls 1000 miles from us today, affects us maybe five days down the road. So when weather forecast models ingest that information, it should help improve their prediction downstream," said Peterson.
Petersen also said the satellite instruments will be turned on hours after the launch Thursday, and their hoping to have the first data available within 60 days.
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