NASA GHRC Collaboration between NASA MSFC and The University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Access Data
    • Dataset List (HyDRO)
      • View a list of all GHRC dataset holdings using our custom search tool, HyDRO.
    • Search (HyDRO)
      • HyDRO is GHRC's custom dataset search and order tool.

        With HyDRO, you can search, discover, and filter GHRC's dataset holdings.

        HyDRO will also help you find information about browse imagery, access restrictions, and dataset guide documents.
    • Coincidence Search
      • The GHRC Coincidence Search Engine (CSE) may be used to search for times when up to four satellites were over or within the same geographic area simultaneously.

        Searches may be constrained by time, geographic area, and/or distance between the satellites.
    • OPeNDAP
      • This is our current OPeNDAP server.

        You can access, download, and subset our main data catalog using this link through your web browser or stand-alone OPeNDAP client applications.
    • Storm Tracks DB
      • The Tropical Storm Tracks database is derived from the storm data published by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

        This web page provides a convenient user interface for casually browsing storm information, including location, category, and wind speed.
    • NASA Earthdata Search
      • Earthdata is NASA's next generation metadata and service discovery tool, providing search and access capabilities for dataset holdings at all of the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) including the GHRC.
    • Latest Data (HyDRO)
      • View the latest additions to our data holdings using HyDRO.
  • Measurements
  • Field Campaigns
    • Hurricane Science
      • GHRC has worked with NASA's Hurricane Science Research Program (HSRP) since the 1990's. We are the archive and distribution center for data collected during HSRP field campaigns, as well as the recent Hurricane Science and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Earth Venture mission. Field campaigns provide for intensive observation of specific phenomena using a variety of instruments on aircraft, satellites and surface networks.

        GHRC also hosts a database of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storm tracks derived from the storm data published by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
    • HS3 (2012-14)
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.

        A variety of in-situ, satellite observations, airborne data, meteorological analyses, and simulation data were collected with missions over the Atlantic in August and September of three observation years (2012, 2013, 2014). These data are available at GHRC beginning in 2015.
    • GRIP (2010)
      • The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment was a NASA Earth science field experiment in 2010 that was conducted to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes.

        The GRIP deployment was 15 August – 30 September 2010 with bases in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the DC-8, at Houston, TX for the WB-57, and at NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, CA for the Global Hawk.
    • TC4 (2007)
      • The NASA TC4 (Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling) mission investigated the structure and properties of the chemical, dynamic, and physical processes in atmosphere of the tropical Eastern Pacific.

        TC4 was based in San Jose, Costa Rica during July 2007.

        The Real Time Mission Monitor provided simultaneous aircraft status for three aircraft during the TC4 experiment. During TC4, the NASA ER-2, WB-57 and DC-8 aircraft flew missions at various times. The science flights were scheduled between 17 July and 8 August 2007.
    • NAMMA (2006)
      • The NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (NAMMA) campaign was a field research investigation based in the Cape Verde Islands, 350 miles off the coast of Senegal in west Africa.

        Commenced in August 2006, NASA scientists employed surface observation networks and aircraft to characterize the evolution and structure of African Easterly Waves (AEWs) and Mesoscale Convective Systems over continental western Africa, and their associated impacts on regional water and energy budgets.
    • TCSP (2005)
      • The Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) mission was an Earth science field research investigation focused on the study of the dynamics and thermodynamics of precipitating cloud systems and tropical cyclones. TCSP was conducted during the period July 1-27, 2005 out of the Juan Santamaria Airfield in San Jose, Costa Rica.

        The TCSP field experiment flew 12 NASA ER-2 science flights, including missions to Hurricanes Dennis and Emily, Tropical Storm Gert and an eastern Pacific mesoscale complex that may possibly have further developed into Tropical Storm Eugene.
    • ACES (2002)
      • The Altus Cumulus Electrification Study (ACES) was aimed at better understanding the causes and effects of electrical storms.

        Based at the Naval Air Station Key West in Florida, researchers in August 2002 chased down thunderstorms using an uninhabited aerial vehicle, or "UAV", allowing them to achieve dual goals of gathering weather data safely and testing new aircraft technology. This marked the first time a UAV was used to conduct lightning research.
    • CAMEX-4 (2001)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) was a series of NASA-sponsored hurricane science field research investigations. The fourth field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-4) was held in 16 August - 24 September, 2001 and was based out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida.

        CAMEX-4 was focused on the study of tropical cyclone (hurricane) development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • CAMEX-3 (1998)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) is a series of hurricane science field research investigations sponsored by NASA. The third field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-3) was based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida from 6 August - 23 September, 1998.

        CAMEX-3 successfully studied Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, Earl and Georges, yielding data on hurricane structure, dynamics, and motion. CAMEX-3 collected data for research in tropical cyclone development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • GPM Ground Validation
      • The NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Ground Validation (GV) program includes the following field campaigns:

        a) LPVEx, Gulf of Finland in autumn 2010, to study rainfall in high latitude environments

        b) MC3E, cental Oklahoma spring and early summer 2011, to develop a complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation and the environment

        c) GCPEx, Ontario, Canada winter of 2011-2012, direct and remove sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow.

        d) IFloodS, Iowa, spring and early summer 2013, to study the relative roles of rainfall quantities and other factors in flood genesis.

        e) IPHEx, N. Carolina Appalachians/Piedmont region May-June 2014, for hydrologic validation over varied topography.

        f) OLYMPEx, Washington's Olympic Peninsula scheduled November 2015-February 2016, for hydrologic validation in extreme coastal and topographic gradients
    • OLYMPEX (2015-2016)
      • Major ground-based and airborne observations for the Olympic Mountain Experiment (OLYMPEX) field campaign took place between November, 2015, and January, 2016, with additional ground sampling continuing through February on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

        This field campaign provides ground-based validation support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite program that is a joint effort between NASA and JAXA.

        As for all GPM-GV campaigns, the GHRC will provide a collaboration portal to help investigators exchange planning information and to support collection of real-time data as well as mission science, project and instrument status reports during the campaign.
    • IPHEx (2014)
      • The Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) was conducted in North Carolina during the months of April-June, 2014.

        IPHEx sought to characterize warm season orographic precipitation regimes, and the relationship between precipitation regimes and hydrologic processes in regions of complex terrain.
    • IFLOODs (2013)
      • The Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment was conducted in the central to northeastern part of Iowa in Midwestern United States during the months of April-June, 2013.

        IFloodS' primary goal was to discern the relative roles of rainfall quantities such as rate and accumulation as compared to other factors (e.g. transport of water in the drainage network) in flood genesis.
    • GCPEX (2011-2012)
      • The GPM Cold-season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) occurred in Ontario, Canada during the winter season (Jan 15- Feb 26) of 2011-2012.

        GCPEx addressed shortcomings in GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm by collecting microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow. Collectively the GCPEx data set provides a high quality, physically-consistent and coherent data set suited to the development and testing of GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm physics.
    • MC3E (2011)
      • The Mid-latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) took place in central Oklahoma during the April–June 2011 period.

        The overarching goal was to provide the most complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation, and the environment that has ever been obtained, providing constraints for model cumulus parameterizations and space-based rainfall retrieval algorithms over land that had never before been available.
    • LPVEx (2010)
      • The Light Precipitation Evaluation Experiment (LPVEx) took place in the Gulf of Finland in September and October, 2010 and collected microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of high latitude precipitation systems to drive the evaluation and development of precipitation algorithms for current and future satellite platforms.

        In doing so, LPVEx sought to address the general lack of dedicated ground-validation datasets from the ongoing development of new or improved algorithms for detecting and quantifying high latitude rainfall
  • Projects
    • HS3 Suborbital Mission
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.
      • DISCOVER was funded by NASA’s MEaSUREs program to provide highly accurate, multi-decadal geophysical products derived from satellite microwave sensors.
    • LIS Mission
      • Lightning observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensors (LIS) aboard the NASA’s TRMM satellite and International Space Station, as well as airborne observations and ground validation data.
    • SANDS
      • The SANDS project addressed Gulf of Mexico Alliance priority issues by generating enhanced imagery from MODIS and Landsat data to identify suspended sediment resulting from tropical cyclones. These tropical cyclones have significantly altered normal coastal processes and characteristics in the Gulf region through sediment disturbance.
      • The Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system provides access to near real-time data (less than 3 hours from observation) from AIRS, AMSR2, MLS, MODIS, and OMI instruments. LANCE AMSR2 products are generated by the AMSR Science Investigator-led Processing System at the GHRC.
  • Resources
    • Tools & Technologies
      • A collection of tools & technologies developed and/or used by GHRC.
    • Publications
      • View GHRC & ITSC publications on the ITSC website
    • Innovations Lab
      • The GHRC Innovations Lab is a showcase for emerging geoinformatics technologies resulting from NASA-sponsored research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
    • Educational Resources
      • A list of resources from NASA, MSFC, and other sources for teachers and students focused on global change, hydrology, and science education.
    • Referencing our data
      • GHRC dataset citation help and examples.
    • Documents
      • Documentation related to GHRC datasets, software, and other offerings.
    • Glossary
      • Terms and their definitions
    • Featured items
      • The latest tools from GHRC.
  • Multimedia
  • About
    • Welcome
      • Local resources, lodging information, and weather to help you plan your visit to GHRC.
    • GHRC Personnel
      • A list to help you keep in touch with our personnel
    • FAQ
      • Frequently Asked Questions about GHRC data and services, and their answers.
    • Data Citations and Acknowledgements
      • GHRC dataset citation help and examples
  • Cite Us
  • Contact Us
Tropical Cyclone related Precipitation Feature (TCPF)


TC-Prone Basin


    East & Central Pacific

    Northwest Pacific

    North Indian Ocean

    South Indian Ocean

    South Pacific

Storms Missed by TRMM

Tropical Cyclones (TCs)

There has been a major improvement in tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasting in the past decade. However, prediction of TC intensity change and rainfall is still challenging, and of immense practical importance. One of the critical questions in TC research is what the necessary and sufficient conditions are for TC intensification, and especially rapid intensification (RI). Favorable large-scale environmental conditions that are near-universally agreed to be necessary include: warm sea surface temperature (SST), high low- to mid-level moisture, and low vertical wind shear. Other factors such as high ocean heat content (Shay et al. 2000), enhanced heat and moisture flux (Bosart et al. 2000), and whether a TC is well below its maximum potential intensity (Kaplan and DeMaria 2003) were also found to be related to RI. Defining sufficient conditions is still controversial, especially the possible role of intense convective events. Early studies suggested that hot towers (Simpson et al. 1998) and convective bursts (Steranka et al. 1986) near the eye are related to TC intensity change. Recent modeling studies (Hendricks et al. 2004, and Montgomery et al. 2006) proposed that intense vortical hot towers may be a missing link in the chain of events that transforms a mid-level vortex into a near-surface vortex, initiating TC genesis and perhaps also RI. This model-based result needs to be evaluated by observational studies not only on a case-study base, but more importantly in a statistical manner. A previous observational study (Cecil and Zipser 1999) presented evidence that a relationship exists between intense convection and TC intensity using the 85 GHz ice-scattering signature observed by SSM/I, but that the total rain rate in the inner core has a better relationship. Recent observational studies also found that the chance of TC intensification increases when one or more hot towers exist in the eyewall using a limited subset of TRMM precipitation radar data (Kelley et al. 2004) and WSR-88D radar data (Kelley et al. 2005). Yet uncertainties remain and additional quantification with a larger database is highly desirable.

In recent decades, fresh water flooding has become one of the main threats to human life when a TC makes landfall (Rappaport 2000). The rainfall climatology and persistence model (R-CLIPER, Tuleya et al. 2007) is one of the major tools used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for TC rainfall forecasts. The operational R-CLIPER uses radial distributions of azimuthally averaged TC rain rates derived from satellite to construct an instantaneous rainfall footprint as a function of storm intensity (Lonfat et al. 2007). The improvement of the statistical rainfall prediction technique highly relies on satellite-based rainfall estimations.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM, Kummerow et al., 1998) marks the first time that TCs in all ocean basins can be viewed by high resolution down-looking precipitation radar. After 12 years of successful operation, TRMM measurements, along with other NASA satellite measurements such as QuikSCAT and numerical model-based reanalysis, have provided invaluable sources of TC data for the study of TC intensification, rainfall, and environment. The University of Utah TRMM Precipitation Feature database (UU TRMM PF) provides a very useful tool to analyze convective intensity over the global tropics using several TRMM-observed proxies. For studying TCs, a subset of the UU TRMM PF database is built, called the Tropical Cyclone related Precipitation Feature (TCPF) database, with TC best track information incorporated into it.

The TRMM TCPF database and the NASA Hurricane Science Research Program (HSRP)

For more than a decade, the NASA Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) series of field campaigns have provided a wealth of new research findings into the genesis, intensity change, and 3D multiscale structure of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific ocean basins. The CAMEX sequence (CAMEX-3, 1998; CAMEX-4, 2001; TCSP, 2005; NAMMA, 2006; GRIP, 2010 as planned) has also consistently provided a test-bed for new remote sensing technologies for satellite and aircraft platforms, retrieval algorithms, and predictive model developments. Apart from these field experiments, there is a wealth of data available from NASA research satellites such as TRMM, Aqua, QuikSCAT, Jason etc. These satellite data has been used in isolated case studies of hurricanes and intensity forecasts and needs further exploitation in conjunction with the field experiment data to develop a more robust understanding of hurricane behavior. The TRMM TCPF database is to provide TRMM-based TC data in a common framework and to make it available to the NASA HSRP science team for TC studies. This webpage is dedicated to providing a searching tool of the past TRMM (and possibly future GPM) observations in TCs and distributing some general scientifically ready products to the public from the TRMM TCPF database.

Dean (2007)

TCs viewed by TRMM You will be able to access each storm for six TC-prone basins viewed by TRMM since its launch in late 1997. The six basins are: North Atlantic (ATL), Eastern and Central Pacific (EPA), Northwestern Pacific (NWP), Northern Indian Ocean (NIO), Southern Indian Ocean (SIO), and South Pacific (SPA). In this website, TRMM overpasses are listed one by one for each storm. Images and data of each TRMM orbit and images of 3B42 rainfall accumulation for each storm are available for download.

Database Description:

Jiang, H., C. Liu, and E. J. Zipser, 2011: A TRMM-based Tropical Cyclone Cloud and Precipitation Feature Database. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 50,1255-1274.(PDF).

©2011 Dept. of Earth & Environment, Florida International Univ., and Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Utah.



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