• Integrating Global Remote Sensing and Modeling Systems for Local Flood Prediction and Impact Assessment
Program GEO-Global Flood Risk Mod
PI / Institution Robert Brakenridge / University of Colorado
Start Date January 19, 2018
End Date January 18, 2021
  • Summary

    In 2008, Myanmar/Burma suffered 138,000 fatalities from tropical storm Nargis. Approximately 260,000 people were made homeless; an estimated 90–95% of the buildings in the delta were lost. One cause of the Nargis catastrophe was the lack of communication of the storm warning directly to the inhabitants. As weather professionals in the outside world watched the storm, the local population was largely unaware of their peril. Another cause was the lack of flood risk knowledge in the increasingly heavily populated delta areas. Post-flood assistance was then constrained by lack of prompt, objective knowledge of storm impact. The humanitarian catastrophe could have been reduced, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved, with better transformation of existing observational and modeling technologies into information useful to local
    populations and decision makers. The lesson is relevant to many nations: on a global basis, >50 severely damaging floods occur each year.  
    As a contribution to the Geo Element "Global Flood Risk Monitoring", our efforts are directed towards producing state-of-the-art, globally-scoped, flood prediction, monitoring capabilities and risk evaluations, continuing to automate wherever possible the systems and how they are linked together, and, finally, directly addressing the needed connections to multiple end users that provide them with useful information. The focus will be on integrating aspects of NASA-based global flood systems, including DFO River Watch, UMD Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS), the NASA Goddard automated MODIS flood product, and SAR-based flood mapping.  We plan three year’s work to develop and publish, in graphical views via web pages and as WMS/WCS/WFS and/or ArcGIS Image data services, global flood forecasting, flood alerts, and flood impact assessments. These will be provided as static data products (e.g. web page displays) and as dynamic map services. We also plan an archiving system, in collaboration with the Global Flood Partnership, so that each new event becomes part of an integrated global flood record. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Global Flood Partnership, which is a participating organization within GEO, to build the needed connection to the local level. DFO will provide the web portal/integration facility; in which these automated systems and their data and services are assembled and the final information products published. The results will also be communicated directly to a NASA Disaster Response Portal when this becomes available. DFO is actively collaborating with several global-scale end user organizations: 1) the World Food Program, 2) the World Bank, 3) the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, 4) the European Commission’s Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, and 5) the GeoSUR project (for Latin America).