Satellites reveal possible catastrophic flooding months in advance
Data from NASA satellites can greatly improve predictions of how likely a river basin is to overflow months before it does, according to new findings by UC Irvine. The use of such data, which capture a much fuller picture of how water is accumulating, could result in earlier flood warnings, potentially saving lives and property.
The research was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
A case study of the catastrophic 2011 Missouri River floods showed that factoring into hydrologic models the total water storage information from NASA's Gravity Recovery & Climate Experiment mission - including groundwater accumulation below the surface - could have increased regional flood warning lead times from two months to as long as five months.