Improving Rapid Response Flood Forecasting and Communications Using Short-Lead Time Modeling and Remote Sensing

November 22, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

A GMU proposal submitted to NASA-ROSES-2011 A33: DISASTER: Earth Science Applications: Disasters (NNH11ZDA001N-DISASTER), $108,592, 1 mo/yr, 06/01/2012 – 5/31/2013.

We propose to produce a flash flood/river flood modeling and decision-making system that will create more accurate forecasts, improve communication, and provide timely flood information. This research proposal will focus on both short-lead time flash flood and river flood events. River flooding occurs on rivers and major streams due to a prolonged heavy rain event, snowmelt or ice jam, and usually last over a relatively long time period (as long as several days). Flash floods are floods that occur suddenly, within 6 hr of the event (heavy rainfall, dam or levee failure, or sudden release of an ice or debris jam), on small streams and fast-moving rivers. In these situations, critical time is lost due to the lack of modeling capability on short time scales (i.e., one hour or less).
Overall, this research will attempt to improve the temporal and spatial availability of short-lead time flash flood and river flood forecasts by assimilating real time precipitation and remotely sensed antecedent moisture conditions (snow and soil moisture) in near-real time, as well as the ability to focus on localized short-lead time flash flooding. This forecast system will utilize the Community Hydrologic Prediction System (CHPS), along with other flood models, such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydrologic and hydraulic models (ResSim and HEC-RAS) and the Delft Flood Early Warning System, along with coupling the atmospheric model, WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model. Additionally, trial additions of other hydrologic models, such as the Noah Land Surface Model in the Land Information System will be included in the Phase-2. Assimilated precipitation and antecedent moisture conditions will come from such instruments as MODIS and AMSR satellites, WSR-88D Radar and NOAA/CPC CMORPH (multi-satellite) precipitation estimates. Atmospheric data will come from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. Output from the forecast system will be complemented by the development of a communication system, which will update and alert citizens directly within the affected areas via automated text messages and phone calls. Frequently, power is lost during such events, and citizens do not have any way of assessing the situation. This communication will bridge the gap so that they can make informed decisions. This improved flood forecasting and communication tool will be created from input and assistance from partners such as NWS River Forecast Offices, and state and local Emergency Management Agencies.

Filed in: Rejected Support

Dr. Paul R. Houser

About the Author (Author Profile)

Dr. Houser in an internationally recognized expert in local to global land surface-atmospheric remote sensing, in-situ observation and numerical simulation, development and application of hydrologic data assimilation methods, scientific integrity and policy, and global water and energy cycling. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona in 1992 and 1996 respectively. Dr. Houser's previous experience includes internships at the U.S. Geological Survey and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Houser joined the NASA-GSFC Hydrological Sciences Branch and the Data Assimilation Office (DAO/GMAO) in 1997, served as manager of NASA’s Land Surface Hydrology Program, and served as branch head of the Hydrological Science Branch. In 2005, he joined the George Mason University Climate Dynamics Program and the Geography and Geoinformation Sciences Department as Professor of Global Hydrology, and formed CREW (the Center for Research for Environment and Water). Dr. Houser has also teamed with groundwater development and exploration companies (EarthWater Global and Geovesi) and has served as Science Advisor to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Dr. Houser has led numerous scientific contributions, including the development of Land Data Assimilation Systems (LDAS), the Hydrospheric States Mission (Hydros/SMAP), the Land Information System (LIS), the NASA Energy and Water cycle Study (NEWS), and the Water Cycle Solutions Network (WaterNet).

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