July 9, 2014--NASA satellites detect possible disastrous flooding months in advance, finds research (Water World)

According to new research from UC Irvine, data from NASA satellites can greatly improve predictions of how likely a river basin is to overflowing months before it actually does. 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. A case study of the catastrophic 2011 Missouri River floods demonstrated that factoring into hydrologic models the total water storage information from NASA's Gravity Recovery & Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission -- including groundwater accumulation below the surface -- could have increased regional flood warning lead times from two months to as long as five months. A review of the 2011 Columbia River floods found that warnings could have been issued three months before they occurred. Comprehensive underground measurements are not currently part of predictive models, which typically take into account river flow rates and some snowfall amounts.

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