GEO 2012-2015 Work Plan

April 27, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

WA-01-C2: Information Systems for Hydro-meteorological Extremes (incl. Floods and Droughts): Establish a global drought observing system to correct errors in precipitation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and terrestrial water-storage change derived from land-surface/hydrological models (Contact: Paul Houser or Matt Rodell)

Drought depletes the various stocks of water stored in and on the surface, whose circulation constitutes the hydrologic cycle.  Meanwhile, high levels of soil moisture or frozen soil increases the predisposition towards flooding.  Monitoring drought propagation requires monitoring multiple stores of water.  Groundwater can be monitored using the IGRAC global groundwater datasets along with space-based GRACE downscaled and extended to near-real-time in data assimilation with Land Surface Model/Hydrological Models.  The monitoring of soil moisture at global scales calls for more observations than can be currently provided with in situ measurements and so  are combined with soil moisture proxies from LSM/HMs, Thermal Infrared (TIR)-estimated Soil Moisture from geostationary satellites, WACMOS, NESDIS SMOPS, SMOS, SMAP and ASCAT space-based microwave observations.  Errors in observed precipitation are also being analyzed in conjunction with ECMWF and NCEP/CPC.  Observed stores of water are required for data assimilation (in the forecasting of floods and droughts), as well as forecast verification with observed precipitation and soil moisture, and for near-real-time (NRT) drought indicator and flood monitoring.

Priority Actions

• Establish an integrated framework for predicting, monitoring and responding to hydrometeorological extremes. Construct a global, multi-model and multi-ensemble flood and drought information platform to assemble existing sources of real-time flood and drought information (forecasts and observations), while providing a common risk-management framework for early warning and risk management. Build upon the European Floods Alert System (EFAS) and ongoing end-to-end projects (see DI-01), as appropriate

• Establish a global drought observing system to correct errors in precipitation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and terrestrial water-storage change derived from land-surface/hydrological models

• Establish a global drought monitor to link together continental and regional drought monitoring efforts and produce a web-based, real-time, geographic information system. Develop a regional drought impacts monitor to assess drought vulnerability by establishing a water usage and demand baseline

• Establish a global drought information and early-warning framework, capitalizing on drought observing, monitoring, and impact systems, to enable early-warning systems to more effectively respond to drought at national/regional levels

Filed in: Activities

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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