Benjamin Lott

Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Atmospheric Sciences

First Advisor

Leon Osborne


The purpose of this project is to validate precipitation measurements from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory (GPM-CO) satellite. The GPM-CO satellite is being used to detect falling rain and snow. Being able to detect rain builds off the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), which provided reasonable rainfall estimates when compared to ground-based radars. Detecting falling snow was a key GPM-CO requirement that was to be met within three years the satellite’s launch date of 27 February 2014. In this project, ground observations from Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) and Automated Weather Observing Station (AWOS) was used to determine how well GPM-CO’s Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) can detect and classify precipitation phase. If GPM can detect precipitation, especially snow, it could lead to increased knowledge of fresh water resources. GPM can lead to a better understanding of the full picture of the water cycle and the effects precipitation has on the availability of fresh water. This can result in identifying patterns of precipitation systems over land. Results show that DPR struggles to detect solid precipitation (snow), but if detected, then DPR successfully determines the phase. DPR detects liquid precipitation better than solid precipitation but does not do as well at classifying it. Results also show that performance is not as good over complex terrain. These are promising results as they show that GPM-CO satellite meets its requirement of detecting falling snow. Other results show that it is successful at detecting and classifying rainfall as well.