Floods are among the most costly and deadly natural disasters that occur in the United States, coming in second to heat events. On average, approximately 100 people in the U.S. perish each year due to flooding. Reliable observations of flooding and inundation spanning larger extents are key in advancing the National Water Model (NWM) capability. This project aims to address this need by utilizing satellite data to fill spatial gaps crucial for improvements in the NWM, which will aid forecasters, emergency managers, and local officials in decision making. Remotely sensed data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the JPSS satellites, Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the GOES satellites, and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) on the Radarsat and Sentinel satellites are being used to meet project goals. SAR data is possibly the best up and coming data for these purposes due to its ability to “see” through clouds and night conditions, as well as its high spatial resolution that can get down on the order of 10 meters.
To accomplish the goal of advancing flood and inundation forecasting skill of the NWM, this project plans to:
- “…Develop new and improved satellite products, with an emphasis on inundation, and deliver them in a reliable, and efficient manner to the [National Water Center] NWC and other interested offices of the NWS.”
- “Innovative methods to compare the generally coarser satellite data to the NWM will be developed, as well as methods to integrate the various sources of satellite inundation maps from a variety of sensors.”
- “Other satellite parameters and data sets related to hydrologic parameters (e.g., soil moisture, precipitation, vegetative state, etc.) will also be developed and tailored to NWC needs.”