The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite
is approaching its fifth year of operation, surpassing its
original life expectancy by two years and providing
scientists valuable insight into such questions as why
hurricanes sometimes suddenly intensify and the implications
of tropical rainfall for the world’s overall climate.

Researchers will examine important scientific advances of the
satellite at the International Tropical Rainfall Measuring
Mission Science Conference this week. Scientists there will
discuss TRMM and its role in monitoring the global
hydrological cycle as part of the overall NASA Earth Science
program. Also considered by meeting participants will be the
upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission that
will help scientists further understand the global water

The TRMM satellite allows for more accurate environmental
predictions of natural hazards such as floods, droughts and
tropical cyclones. TRMM data also are being used to improve
the utilization of freshwater resources around the globe.

TRMM — the only satellite that has mapped shifting rainfall
patterns around the world — is a joint U.S.-Japan mission to
advance understanding of the global energy and water cycle by
providing distributions of rainfall and latent heating over
the global tropics.

Initially designed as a three-year mission, the satellite is
continuing to collect a variety of measurements used to
answer a diverse array of key climate and weather questions
related to Earth’s hydrological cycle. These questions range
from microscopic processes that control the formation of
snowflakes and raindrops inside clouds to the shifting
global-scale patterns of rainfall. TRMM provides valuable
insights into the processes that energize city-sized
thunderstorm clouds and other violent storms, such as
hurricanes and monsoon rains over Southeast Asia.

Launched in November 1997, the TRMM satellite received a new
lease on life in August 2001, when it was boosted into a
higher orbit to extend its lifetime.

TRMM has helped reduce uncertainty in satellite estimates of
rainfall in the tropics and has provided information on the
climatology, seasonality and variation of tropical rainfall;
the mesoscale structure of rain-producing systems; and the
physics of precipitation. TRMM has also contributed
significant knowledge in areas related to hurricane analysis
and forecasting, pollution, lightning, weather forecasting,
climate modeling and hydrology.

The upcoming GPM mission will use multiple spacecraft in
several coordinated orbits to provide global coverage and
improved sampling of daylight precipitation cycles and new
insights into the global water cycle — information vital for
better life today and for generations to come.

The International Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Science
Conference, running July 22-26 at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
in Honolulu, is sponsored by NASA and the National Space
Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan.

NASA scientists and other researchers will present their TRMM
findings throughout the week on topics such as the
differences in lightning over islands and the oceans, the
mapping of soil moisture in the southern United States, and
the most comprehensive global database of tropical rain
events ever assembled. For details about the presentations

Media representatives interested in interviewing scientists
should contact Jeffrey Halverson of NASA’s Goddard Space
Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., by email at or during the conference at
the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.

For hotel and conference registration, see:

For information about the TRMM Conference Program, go to:

For more information about the spacecraft, visit the TRMM
website at: