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The State of Rain
updated: May 14, 2014, 11:28 AM
Using modern weather satellites to monitor rainfall has become a robust, widely practiced technique.
However, establishing a reliable context for relating space-based rainfall observations to current and
historical ground-based rainfall data has been difficult.
A new dataset developed in partnership between UC Santa Barbara and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
can be used for environmental monitoring and drought early warning. The Climate Hazards Group Infrared
Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS), a collaboration between UCSB's Climate Hazards Group and USGS's
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) couples rainfall data observed from space with more than
three decades of rainfall data collected at ground stations worldwide.
"This dataset seeks to blend the best qualities of rainfall station observations, satellite temperature data
and rainfall's unique spatial characteristics to create the best available rainfall information for climate and
agricultural monitoring," said Gregory J. Husak, an assistant researcher with the Climate Hazards Group in
UCSB's Department of Geography.
The new dataset allows experts who specialize in the early warning of drought and famine to monitor
rainfall in near real-time, at a high resolution, over most of the globe. CHIRPS data can be incorporated
into climate models, along with other meteorological and environmental data, to project future agricultural
and vegetation conditions.
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