January 1, 2020 to February 28, 2020
Project Location: 
Northeastern US
Project Description: 

The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) will fly a complementary suite of remote sensing and in-situ instruments for three 6-week deployments from mid-January through February 2020-2022 on the ER-2 and P-3 aircraft. IMPACTS will address three specific objectives, providing observations critical to understanding the mechanisms of snowband formation, organization, and evolution. IMPACTS will also examine how the microphysical characteristics and likely growth mechanisms of snow particles vary across snowbands. IMPACTS will improve snowfall remote sensing interpretation and modeling to significantly advance predictive capabilities.


IMPACTS addresses the NASA Earth Science Enterprise science goal to study Earth to advance scientific understanding and meet societal needs, and the NASA Weather Focus Area’s research objective to “enable improved predictive capability for weather and extreme weather events.” IMPACTS is also relevant to the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) and CloudSat missions, and the National Academies recommendation for a designated program focused on clouds, convection, and precipitation.

IMPACTS collects data from a “satellite-simulating” ER-2 and in-situ measurements from a cloud-penetrating P-3, augmented by ground-based radar and rawinsonde data, multiple NASA and NOAA satellites [including GPM , GOES-16, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)], and computer simulations. The ER-2 and P-3 provide the flight-altitude and long-endurance capabilities and payload capacity needed for the combined remote sensing and in-situ measurements.

The IMPACTS airborne instrument suite provides a synergistic range of measurements for snow process studies. It combines advanced radar, lidar, and microwave radiometer remote sensing instruments on the ER-2 with state-of-the-art microphysics probes and dropsonde capabilities on the P-3 to sample US East Coast winter storms.