This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11091
In July 2010, monsoon rains put one fifth of Pakistan under water. In December 2010 and January 2011, Tropical Cyclone Tasha and a wet year combined to drown Queensland, Australia. And in the United States this May, flooding on the Mississippi River has displaced thousands of people. Over months or a few short hours, extreme rain can interact with the right combination of topography, land use and climate to trigger deadly and costly floods.
To better understand and predict floods scientists have developed hydrological models based on how much rainfall occurs and where the water will likely go once it hits the ground. They use several satellite precipitation datasets within these models to provide near real-time estimates of when and where areas may flood. While the majority of flood models currently focus on local or regional scales — taking into account one drainage basin or watershed — some recent research has shifted to estimating areas of potential flooding on a global scale. The International Flood Network (IFNet) converts precipitation data from TRMM into rainfall maps as part of their Global Flood Alert System. While still in its trial version, IFNet determines flood risk based on a minimum precipitation threshold and in the future will alert communities of potential flooding in their region. Another global flood monitoring system integrates TRMM rainfall into a hydrologic model to estimate potential flooding conditions in near real-time, considering stream flow, water routing and existing river networks.
TRMM's flood monitoring map from March 11, 2011. The colored areas indicate locations with a low to high potential for flooding given the preceding rainfall conditions and flood modeling.
Go to the TRMM Flood and Landslide Monitoring page.
Organizations Which Use PMM Data for Flood Applications
The GFMS is a NASA-funded experimental system using real-time TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) precipitation information as input to a quasi-global (50°N - 50°S) hydrological runoff and routing model running on a 1/8th degree latitude/longitude grid. Flood detection/intensity estimates are based on 13 years of retrospective model runs with TMPA input, with flood thresholds derived for each grid location using surface water storage statistics (95th percentile plus parameters related to basin hydrologic characteristics). Streamflow, surface water storage,inundation variables are also calculated at 1km resolution.In addition, the latest maps of instantaneous precipitation and totals from the last day, three days and seven days are displayed.
In spring 2009, the state of Iowa established (and funded) the new Iowa Flood Center (IFC). This effort was spearheaded by several Iowa senators and representatives, with much behind-the-scenes work by IIHR research engineers Larry Weber and Witold Krajewski. A total of $1,300,000 was appropriated for the center in its first year (FY2010).
The IFC is now actively engaged in flood projects in several Iowa communities and employs several graduate and undergraduate students participating in flood-related research. IFC researchers have designed a cost-efficient sensor network to better monitor stream flow in the state; have developed a library of flood-inundation maps for several Iowa communities; and are working on a large project to develop new floodplain map for 85 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory captured these images of Hurricane Harvey at 11:45 UTC and 21:25 UTC on the 27th of August nearly two days after the storm made landfall as it was meandering slowly southeast at just 2 mph (~4 kph) near Victoria, Texas west of Houston. The image shows rain rates derived from GPM's GMI microwave imager (outer swath) and dual-frequency precipitation radar or DPR (inner swath) overlaid on enhanced visible/infrared data from the GOES-East satellite. Harvey's cyclonic circulation is still quite evident in the visible/infrared clouds, but...
Despite its earlier demise, after rejuvinating over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Harvey has become a major weather maker as it unleashes historical flooding over parts of coastal Texas. Harvey began on the 17th of August as a weak tropical storm about 250 miles (~400 km) east of Barbados in the Leeward Islands. Over the next two days, Harvey continued moving steadily westward passing through the Leeward Islands as a still weak tropical storm and entered into the east central Caribbean. On the 19th, Harvey succumbed to the effects of northeasterly wind shear over the...
The West Coast is once again feeling the effects of the "Pineapple Express". Back in early January one of these "atmospheric river" events, which taps into tropical moisture from as far away as the Hawaiian Islands, brought heavy rains from Washington and Oregon all the way down to southern California. This second time around, many of those same areas were hit again. The current rains are a result of 3 separate surges of moisture impacting the the West Coast. The first such surge in this current event began impacting the Pacific coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California...
After more than four years of drought, Californians may wonder where the current rain is coming from. Using satellites, NASA scientists have a unique view of the sources of precipitation, and how it reaches the western United States. Rain is often carried by narrow tendrils of moisture called atmospheric rivers that occur all over the world, shown here in white. The atmospheric rivers that affect the western United States are known as the Pineapple Express because they transport water vapor from as far south as Hawaii to California. When the moisture reaches land, it is forced up over the...
Twice on August 12, 2016 GPM flew over a massive rainstorm that flooded large portions of Louisiana. The flooding was some of the worst ever in the state, resulting in a state of emergency. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in the wake of this unprecedented event. Throughout the course of August 12 (UTC) GPM captured the internal structure of the storm twice and GPM IMERG measured the rainfall accumulation on the ground. NASA's GPM satellite is designed to measure rainfall using both passive microwave (GMI) and radar (DPR) instruments. DPR can observe 3D...