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NASA Testing New Global Precipitation Measurement Equipment In Md.

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GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ)—We are in an era where climate change and our carbon footprint are under the microscope. Scientists are constantly trying to learn more about these issues.

Kai Jackson reports a new program shows once again Maryland is at the forefront of research.

Scientists can forecast rain. But knowing the long-term effects on crops adds to the value of that information.

Technology can forecast snow, hurricanes or other severe weather, yet understanding the human impact on the planet is data that’s equally important.

“There’s no question about climate change from our point of view as scientists or about human causation,” said Peter Hildebrand, NASA Earth Sciences.

Analyzing weather-related events with pinpoint accuracy is the goal of NASA’s global precipitation measurement program.

It’s a satellite mission that will launch in 2014 in partnership with scientists from Japan and several other countries.

“Rain may fall in your backyard, but rain falls globally. And we need to understand it globally so we need to have these global measurements and global partnerships,” said Gail Skofronic-Jackson, NASA scientist.

The state-of-the-art equipment is being tested at NASA’s Greenbelt location.

On Friday scientists gathered to explain how it will work.

They hope it will provide the kind of information that would help in the event of disasters like Hurricane Sandy last year.

“What we want to be able to do with the GPM mission is to look at those hot towers and look at the hurricanes and the storms as they move outside of the tropics so that we can better forecast whether they’re going to intensify or not,” Skofronic-Jackson said.

NASA says the GPM satellite will orbit at 250 miles from the planet. That’s considered a low Earth orbit. Scientists say the shorter distance will provide a small but focused footprint of observation.

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