New views of tropical thunderstorms and pollution effects on rainfall presented at AGU meeting

Scientists have discovered that thunderstorms over tropical lands can act like ocean storms, pollution can inhibit rainfall, and upper level winds may determine the characteristics of thunderstorms.

Some of these findings give promise to better understanding thunderstorm development, and researchers working with NASAs Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite will discuss them in a press briefing at the upcoming meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco on December 18.

Three panelists will discuss how TRMM has revealed that clouds over tropical land areas sometimes take on characteristics of maritime clouds, which are more efficient producers of warmer rains. They will also discuss how polluted air causes less efficient rain-producing clouds, how upper level wind direction may be a key to determining thunderstorm characteristics, and they will present new comprehensive 2-year rainfall maps that will help researchers better understand tropical rainfall.

A panel of scientists working on the TRMM mission will present their findings at a press briefing on Monday, December 18, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time in Room 112 of the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Ca.

Wei Kuo Tao of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will introduce the panelists: Daniel Rosenfeld, Edward Zipser, and Robert Adler.

Daniel Rosenfeld, a member of the TRMM science team and a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will present findings from Amazonia on man-made aerosols and burning; Edward Zipser from the University of Utah will present findings of thunderstorm development over tropical oceans and continents; and Robert Adler, the TRMM project scientist from NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center, will discuss new rain maps and anomalies in rainfall.

One of TRMMs functions is to document the detrimental impact of smoke, air pollution, and desert dust on precipitation. "Global atmospheric circulation patterns are

Contact: Lynn Chandler
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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