Task 253

Summary of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Accomplishments to Date

Principal Investigator(s):

Jian-Jian Wang


Scott Braun

Last Updated:

October 26, 2012 15:26:17

Description of Problem

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint project between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA. It was launched on November 27, 1997 and continues to provide the research and operational communities unique precipitation information from space well into 2011. The first-time use of both active and passive microwave instruments and the precessing, low inclination orbit (35°) make TRMM the world’s foremost satellite for the study of precipitation and associated storms and climate processes in the tropics. To prepare for the TRMM Senior Review Proposal 2011, a thorough review of scientific accomplishment by TRMM is required.

Scientific Objectives and Approach


TRMM products are used extensively by the research and applications communities. One measure of TRMM’s contribution is the large number of refereed publications that mention TRMM in 2009 and 2010. The TRMM launch triggered a virtual flood of research that has led to significant improvements in our understanding of the hydrologic cycle, of the climate system, and of tropical weather systems and their prediction.

The main effort of this task is to summarize TRMM’s scientific contributions in various categories, with an emphasis on findings from the past two years. In brief, a literature review of more than 1200 TRMM related papers published by American Meteorological Society (AMS), American Geophysical Union (AGU), Meteorological Society of Japan (MSJ), Royal Meteorological Society (RMS), and Springer-Link journals, have been made. The recent scientific progresses made by TRMM scientists have covered many areas including rainfall and lightning climatology and diurnal cycle, profiles of latent heating, tropical dynamics, impact of humans on rainfall, convective systems characteristics, tropical cyclones, improvement of algorithms, multi-satellite analyses, data assimilation, model improvements and evaluations, hydrological/land surface applications, and fire detection and monitoring.