The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working with leading academic institutions to build a groundbreaking and life-saving flood prediction gadget. Floods are one of the world’s deadliest and most expensive natural disasters, and their severity is only increasing due to climate change. Dr. Shanna N. McClain, Disasters Program Manager for NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences Program, stated:
Because of new technology that spans the entire earth, we can now assess flood hazard and estimate the likelihood of floods in ways that were before inconceivable. The technology we built will transform how communities throughout the world respond to flooding by enabling early action, particularly in small island towns and developing countries that lack the necessary early warning systems.
The PDC is a University of Hawaii-affiliated applied science and research center that focuses on disaster risk reduction science and technology and assists organizations around the world in making the world safer.
According to a recent World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) study, half of the world’s countries lack adequate hazard early warning systems (WMO). Chris Chiesa, deputy executive director of the Pacific Disaster Center and one of the project’s major contributors, says:
It was previously impossible to offer entire global flood early warnings. There are either limitations in hydrologic monitoring networks, forecast models, or abilities to operate and widely transmit their data, particularly in tiny and weak countries. The MoM will change the terrain.
Following terrible flooding in 2022 that resulted in over 1,700 deaths and 7.9 million displaced individuals, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society provides relief to local communities. According to Omar Abou-Samra, director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Global Disaster Preparedness Center:
Timely early warning information has been demonstrated to save lives. Flood early warning has thus far proven to be costly, requiring extensive maintenance and investment at the local level. I’m excited to collaborate with PDC and NASA to make this successful technology available in many regions, in order to help the efforts of local meteorological organizations and national disaster management organizations in ensuring that early warnings reach the last mile.
The IFRC is currently integrating all of PDC’s DisasterAWARE early warning and risk information into its Go Platform in order to equip its 192 national societies and more than 15 million volunteers with the critical emergency needs information and tools they need to conduct an adequate response.
Dr. McClain of NASA praised the entire Disasters flood team, a collection of specialists from several professions who have worked tirelessly over the past three years to develop an algorithm to mitigate the effects of global floods as part of the NASA ROSES A.37 project.
Using Remote Sensing Technologies and the PDC DisasterAWARE® Platform, we are increasing access to global flood modeling and alerting.
The Global Initiative for Flood Forecasting and Alerting (GIFFT) project expanded MoM by adding features such as triggers for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) analysis and exposure analysis using ImageCat’s Global Economic Disruption Index (GEDI).
NASA and the Pacific Disaster Center worked together to add MoM prediction into DisasterAWARE, a worldwide multi-hazard warning platform. When the MoM detects a high risk of flooding in the area, DisasterAWARE warns impacted populations, allowing them to take the required steps to save lives and livelihoods.
Local governments may use this forecast to activate emergency response plans, issue evacuation orders, or dispatch response teams and humanitarian help. PDC was recently awarded the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction for 2022 in recognition of its efforts to develop resilience through a multi-hazard approach.