Climate Rainfall Data Center (CRDC) is an experiment designed to assess if overall data access and usage from NASA data centers can be improved by adding a layer of service that is discipline specific (rainfall in our case). While the task of distributing standard rainfall products is left to the NASA data centers, CRDC is staffed by research personnel with knowledge of the products and the flexibility to address individual user needs. As such, CRDC can answer detailed questions about the products, direct users to the appropriate products for a specific application, create alternate products if necessary, and even create a quick image if needed. In short, the CRDC will do everything it can to accommodate any honest question or request as part of this experiment. In return, however, user feedback is needed to assess if the CRDC is a viable model for future NASA data systems.
The CRDC is most closely aligned with the Precipitation Processing System (PPS) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The PPS currently processes data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), but is evolving to handle multiple satellites for the planned Global Precipitation Mission (GPM). The TRMM satellite was launched in November of 1997 and rainfall products from the Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) have been available since December 1997. While the TRMM sensors and corresponding retrieval algorithms represent the state-of-the-art in satellite rainfall estimation, TRMM is a research satellite with a relatively short record for climate studies. Long-term merged global climate rainfall products such as GPCP and CMAP date back as far as 1979 providing over two decades of continuous global rainfall coverage. These merged products use observations from operational satellite systems, providing a much longer data record. Limitations of the sensors and techniques from the operational satellites, however, often result in regional and time-dependent biases. Because of these tradeoffs, the best rainfall dataset is highly dependent on the application.
This site attempts to provide the necessary information, tools, and expertise to help the user determine which dataset(s) to use for their particular application. Descriptions of the most common publicly available products are provided under the Rainfall Products link. Although we do not provide the actual data, details on where to go to access the data as well as where to get more information are provided. The Product Intercomparisons page provides users the capability to directly compare rain maps or rainfall time series from most of the datasets described in the Rainfall Products section.
The web interface is designed to provide some basic background to users not familiar with the many rainfall products currently available. The need to remain flexible with regards to user needs, however, led us to decide that one-on-one interactions might be the best approach until we learn more. Contact Us information is therefore scattered across these pages, with more information provided in Who Are We under Additional Info. We are a research group at Colorado State University concerned mainly with the production and validation of satellite rainfall products. This is an experiment for us as well. Only time will tell how well we can meet user needs, but the feedback that will go into "lessons learned" from this experiment is very important if the model being tested here is to survive.