Ali Behrangi Named Principal Investigator on New $3 Million NASA Grant to Advance Global Precipitation Data Record for Climate Change, Early Warning, and Scientific Discovery

July 24, 2023
Image University Distinguished Scholar and Professor Ali Behrangi

University Distinguished Scholar and Professor Ali Behrangi

Our warmest congratulations go to HAS University Distinguished Scholar and Professor Ali Behrangi who was recently selected as the principal investigator on a $3 million NASA award to lead efforts on developing the next generation Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) for 5 more years. Behrangi will lead a team of well-recognized experts from NASA GSFC, University of Maryland, and University of California (UCSB), in collaboration with scientists from Europe.

GPCP is a global observational precipitation product that has become a science community standard, having been used in over 5000 journal articles.

GPCP is the precipitation component of an internationally coordinated set of mainly satellite-based global products dealing with the Earth’s water and energy cycles, under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Data and Assessment Panel (GDAP), on which PI Behrangi currently serves. The GPCP products are used in many major climate reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the annual “State of the Climate” published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The overall objective of this proposal is to build on the GPCP success up to now and the users requests, to make major advances in several areas and produce significantly-improved next-generation GPCP products (GPCP V4) using new satellite and in situ data sources and techniques. After successful development and release of the GPCP V3 via NASA data portal, the significance of this investigation is that it utilizes the latest observational capabilities (e.g., from TRMM, GPM, CloudSat, GRACE, and in-situ observations) and methods to bring major advances in consistency, accuracy, and resolution of long-duration global precipitation Earth Science Data Records (ESDRs). The records will provide insights into high-priority Earth Science questions related to quantifying regional and global climate patterns and changes, research into precipitation extremes, as well as our ability to model (and potentially predict) them.

The key difference with other individual mission data sets is that all these products will be combined into an integrated and inter-consistent framework, as in previous GPCP versions, for all overlapping time spans, to provide an analysis useful for various studies on magnitudes and variations from synoptic through inter-annual and inter-decadal to trend time scales. In addition, a low-latency interim product will be much more useful for societally-relevant monitoring applications (e.g., drought and food security). Throughout, the CDR standards of consistency and homogeneity will be underlined and uncertainties of the products will be calculated, using advanced methods, and shared with the users. 

With this award the University of Arizona will remain a leader in developing one of the most popular precipitation products in the field, which will enable UArizona students and post docs to be involved in the development of the latest operational precipitation products, data analysis, and collaboration with a broad range of scientists from NASA and other institutes.

Behrangi joined the University of Arizona in January 2018 after working for more than 8 years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is currently Principal Investigator on four other active NASA projects. He has been recognized though several awards and distinctions, including the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal and elected fellow of the Kavli Frontiers of Science, National Academy of Sciences.

Congratulations, Ali!

Ali Behrangi