Dissemination of satellite-based river discharge and flood data

Monday, 15 December 2014
Albert J Kettner, University of Colorado at Boulder, CSDMS/INSTAAR, Boulder, CO, United States, G Robert Brakenridge, CSDMS Facility, INSTAAR, Boulder, CO, United States, Eric van Praag, CAF - banco de desarrollo de América Latina, Caracas, Venezuela, Tom de Groeve, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, Daniel A Slayback, SSAI/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Sagy Cohen, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
In collaboration with NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center and the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO) daily measures and distributes: 1) river discharges, and 2) near real-time flood extents with a global coverage. Satellite-based passive microwave sensors and hydrological modeling are utilized to establish ‘remote-sensing based discharge stations’, and observed time series cover 1998 to the present. The advantages over in-situ gauged discharges are: a) easy access to remote or due to political reasons isolated locations, b) relatively low maintenance costs to maintain a continuous observational record, and c) the capability to obtain measurements during floods, hazardous conditions that often impair or destroy in-situ stations. Two MODIS instruments aboard the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites provide global flood extent coverage at a spatial resolution of 250m. Cloud cover hampers flood extent detection; therefore we ingest 6 images (the Terra and Aqua images of each day, for three days), in combination with a cloud shadow filter, to provide daily global flood extent updates.

The Flood Observatory has always made it a high priority to visualize and share its data and products through its website. Recent collaborative efforts with e.g. GeoSUR have enhanced accessibility of DFO data. A web map service has been implemented to automatically disseminate geo-referenced flood extent products into client-side GIS software. For example, for Latin America and the Caribbean region, the GeoSUR portal now displays current flood extent maps, which can be integrated and visualized with other relevant geographical data. Furthermore, the flood state of satellite-observed river discharge sites are displayed through the portal as well. Additional efforts include implementing Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards to incorporate Water Markup Language (WaterML) data exchange mechanisms to further facilitate the distribution of the satellite gauged river discharge time series.