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Image of NASA DEVELOP Team

DEVELOP, part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program, addresses environmental and public policy issues through interdisciplinary research projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observations to community concerns around the globe. In the summer of 2014, DEVELOP began a unique collaboration with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina to integrate the use of NOAA climate data to aid in environmental and policy decision making at the local, state, regional, and federal levels. Since this time, participants have demonstrated unique and innovative uses of NOAA and NASA data in applied rapid feasibility Earth science projects that address real-world issues facing a variety of organizations. Participants at NOAA’s NCEI have direct access to the world’s largest active archive of weather and climate data as well as the unique opportunity to collaborate with both NASA and NOAA experts.

"By focusing on the creation of solutions addressing real user problems, the DEVELOP Program is a great way for young scientists to leverage NOAA and NASA environmental information assets and solve pressing societal issues."

~Michael Brewer, NOAA's Center for Weather & Climate Customer Engagement Section Chief

Utilizing NOAA and NASA Earth data to bridge the gap between science and society, DEVELOP builds capacity in both participants and partner organizations to better prepare them to address the challenges that face our society and future generations. To learn more about the projects conducted by NCEI DEVELOP, please visit our website.

If you have questions about NCEI and its data holdings, contact the NCEI DEVELOP Intern Program Coordinator.

DEVELOP NCEI Project Highlights

Image of Satellite for El Nino Southern Oscillation
2015 Summer NCEI PWR Final Project Image of El Nino Southern Oscillation precipitation anomalies.

  • Summer 2015 Pacific Water Resources

    Using NOAA CDRs and Satellite Data to Connect Phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with Precipitation across Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).

  • Study Area/Period

    The Study Area was the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ’s) that encompasses the American Samoa, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the Republic of Palau, and Hawaii from January 1985 to December 2014.

  • Objective

    This project examined the influence of five phases of the ENSO on long-term precipitation averages for the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ’s) encompassing American Samoa, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the Republic of Palau, and the Hawaiian Islands. This study utilized remotely sensed precipitation from the PERSIANN CDR, the Oceanic Nino Index, and in situ precipitation from NOAA stations. Using the results from this project will help manage water resources on the islands during different ENSO phases.

  • Community Concerns

    • Pacific Island Nations’ leaders and decision-makers are increasingly interested in growing their understanding and knowledge of regional climate variability and the associated impacts.
    • Leaders of these nations are especially interested in understanding how ENSO affects their freshwater sources, as water resources for these nations are heavily dependent upon precipitation.
    • Leaders are becoming increasingly concerned with the frequency and distribution of future heavy precipitation and drought events as they relate to the dynamical nature of the climate system.
  • Earth Observations & Parameters

    PERSIANN CDR - Precipitation Estimation

  • Abstract

    The United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) is highly susceptible to extreme precipitation events such as drought and flooding, which directly affect their freshwater availability. Precipitation distribution differs by sub-region, and is predominantly influenced by phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Forecasters currently rely on ENSO climatologies from sparse in situ station data to inform their precipitation outlooks. This project provided an updated ENSO-based climatology of long-term precipitation patterns for each USAPI Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) using the NOAA PERSIANN Climate Data Record (CDR). This data provided a 30-year record (1984-2015) of daily precipitation at 0.25 ° resolution, which was used to calculate monthly, seasonal, and yearly precipitation. Results indicated that while the PERSIANN precipitation accurately described the monthly, seasonal, and annual trends, it under-predicted the precipitation on the islands. Additionally, maps showing percent departure from normal (30 year average) were made for each three month season based on the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) for five ENSO phases (moderate-strong El Niño and La Niña, weak El Niño and La Niña, and neutral). Local weather service offices plan on using these results and maps to better understand how the different ENSO phases influence precipitation patterns.

  • DEVELOP NCEI Publications

    Luchetti, N.T., Sutton, J.R.P., Wright, E.E., Kruk, M.C., and Marra, J.J. “When El Nino Rages: How Satellite Data Can Help Water-Stressed Islands.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 2016; e-View. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00219.1.

    Wright, E.E., Sutton, J.R.P., Luchetti, N.T., Kruk, M.C., and Marra, J.J. (2016), “Closing the Pacific Rainfall Data Void, EOS, 97, doi: 10.1029/2016EO05505S.


    • Spring 2016 NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information 2015 Employee's Choice Award

      Congratulations to the 2015 Summer PACIFIC WATER RESOURCES Team Awarded for Innovative Product of the Year.

    • Fall 2015 DEVELOPer of the TermImage of Sam Swanson

      Congratulations to Sam Swanson, DEVELOP's 2015 Fall DEVELOPer of the Term. Located at the NCEI location, Sam was a remarkable team member. Showing passion, drive, and a strong desire to improve and learn. Congratulations to Sam!