Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite serves as a "rain gauge in space"
Mission Intelligence: NRO's Newest Spy Satellites
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
NASA is tracking the heavy rainfall being dumped on Florida and southern Georgia by tropical storm Debby, using a satellite it calls its "flying rain gauge in space." The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite generates imagery that scientists are using to calculate rainfall rates and totals.
Debby, which formed June 23 in the central Gulf of Mexico, is noteworthy partly because this is the earliest date in hurricane season for a fourth named storm.
TRMM data shows that Debby has been a major rain-producing storm. The satellite imagery showed that Debby's heaviest rains were falling at a rate of over 2 inches per hour, NASA said on its website. The storm dumped nearly 7 inches of rain on Gainesville, Fla., on June 24, that city's second-highest one-day total.
Instruments on the satellite are used by Goddard Space Flight Center to provide rainfall images. The satellite's precipitation radar provides rain rates in the center of image swaths, while a microwave imager produces rain rates in the outer swaths, the agency explained. The rain rates are overlaid on infrared and visible data gathered by the TRMM's visible infrared scanner.
NASA's tracking of Debby helps identify locations that have potential for flooding. The slower a storm moves--and Debby has been moving slowly--the more time it rains over a given area, increasing the magnitude of flooding.
Coastal flooding and the potential for isolated tornadoes are continuing threats. The storm is expected to continue bringing heavy rains to northern and central Florida where some areas could see in excess of 20 inches of rain, according to NASA. Storm speed is what matters most when it comes to rainfall; the slower the storm, the more time it has to rain over a given area.
The TRMM satellite is a joint mission between NASA and JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
NASA's website provides views of tropical storm Debby from space. In one image, clouds cover the entire state of Florida, in the words of NASA, like "a large white blanket." Researchers at Goddard have also created a video animation that shows the path of the storm over the past two days.
In addition to TRMM, other satellites providing data and images on the storm include NASA's Aqua and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-13.
The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they're doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.