A Global Tour of Precipitation

A Global Tour of Precipitation thumbnail


Precipitation (falling rain and snow) is our fresh water reservoir in the sky and is essential for life. A Global Tour of Precipitation shows how rain and snowfall moves around the world from the vantage of space using measurements from the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory, or GPM. This is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and offers the most detailed and worldwide view of rain and snowfall ever created.

This narrated movie will guide you through a variety of precipitation patterns and display features such as the persistent band of the heaviest rainfall around the equator and tight swirls of tropical storms in the Northern Hemisphere. At subtropical latitudes in both hemispheres there are persistent dry areas and this is where the majority of the major deserts reside. Sea surface temperatures and winds are shown to highlight the interconnectedness of the Earth system.

How to Use in Presentation

This show concludes with near-real time global precipitation data from GPM, which is provided to Science On a Sphere roughly six hours after the observation.

This video needs to be paired with the Precipitation – Real-time dataset, which should be played immediately after ‘A Global Tour of Precipitation’ video, to allow your audience to connect to current weather events that are happening. 

It is encouraged to play the ‘A Global Tour of Precipitation’ video with z-rotation enabled to allow the audience to see the top and bottom of the sphere. The default speed of one rotation per minute is also recommended.

Length of dataset: 3:50

Notable Features

  • Everywhere around the globe, rain and snowfall occur in unsteady patterns (which are hard to forecast)
  • Starting at the Equator and moving toward the poles, there are alternating bands of low and high precipitation
  • Swirls close to the Equator are tropical storms; at higher latitudes, lows and frontal bands are visible

Related Datasets