IMPACTS Data User Workshop - 26-27 October 2022

We are currently planning our third IMPACTS Data User Workshop that will be held virtually on 26-27 October 2022 from 12:00-2:30 ET. These open data...

IMPACTS Data User Workshop - 26-27 October 2022
A group of Stony Brook students getting the weather balloons ready for a past storm on January 28, 2022. The instruments are tied to strings attached to the balloons, including a parachute and GPS system that provides the location of the balloon. Around 8 kilometers (5 miles), the communication drops off and contact is lost with the system. Photo Courtesy of Brian Colle.

Planning, Coordinating and Communicating: The Science Behind...

As the snowstorm headed through New York on February 24, one professor at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York spent the hours leading up t...

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IMPACTS 2022: NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

NASA’s Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Storms (IMPACTS) mission, which began in January and is planne...


Storm Chasing Scientists Fly Into the Clouds to Understand...

Imagine the feeling of flying on an airplane. Smooth sailing, clear skies, not a cloud in sight. It’s a relaxing ride that many take for work or rec...

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IMPACTS 2022: NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

Goddard Media Studios reports on IMPACTS - watch their video chronicles of our February 3rd science flight!

IMPACTS 2022: NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

IMPACTS Media Day 2022

PI Lynn McMurdie and pilots Rod Turbak and Greg “Coach” Nelson answer questions about IMPACT. Watch the YouTube video here.

NASA'S IMPACTS Field Campaign Teleconference

local Raleigh TV followed up on Popular Science IMPACTS article...

local Raleigh TV followed up on Popular Science IMPACTS article with their own piece on IMPACTS


Winter snowstorms are frequent on the eastern seaboard and cause major disruptions to transportation, commerce, and public safety. Snowfall within these storms is frequently organized in banded structures that are poorly understood by scientists and poorly predicted by current numerical models. Since that last study on snowstorms, the capabilities of remote sensing technologies and numerical weather prediction models have advanced significantly, making now an ideal time to conduct a well-equipped study to identify key processes and improve remote sensing and forecasting of snowfall.

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 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.


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. By flying the two aircraft in an approximately vertically stacked coordinated pattern, with flight legs generally orthogonal to the snowband orientation, the instrument suite provides approximately collocated dynamical and microphysical measurements that advance our understanding of processes in winter storms.

IMPACTS collects data from a “satellite-simulating” ER-2 and in-situ measurements from a cloudpenetrating 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.

Take a look at our 2020 Field Catalog for information regarding our first Winter Campaign.