NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences Disasters
program and the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) have
joined forces, with funding from the Research Opportunities
in Space and Earth Sciences (PDF), to develop and
incorporate new flood monitoring and early warning
technology within PDC’s DisasterAWARE® platform.
Although floods are consistently ranked among the leading
causes of natural disaster losses and fatalities, there
has been a major gap in technology to help sense and
anticipate flood risk on a global scale—until now. NASA’s
Earth Science Applied Sciences Disasters program and the
Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) have joined forces, with
funding from the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth
Sciences (PDF), to develop and incorporate new flood
monitoring and early warning technology within PDC’s
DisasterAWARE® platform—a milestone in its partnership,
which started in August of 2019.
PDC is an applied research center managed by the University
of Hawaiʻi that develops new technologies and best practices
to advance the field of disaster mitigation, preparedness,
response and recovery. This new capability will support
disaster management operations around the world.
During the recent extreme flooding that impacted New South
Wales, Australia in March 2021, surpassing record levels from
the last half century, Geoscience Australia on behalf of
Emergency Management Australia engaged NASA’s Disasters program
to help monitor floods. Using NASA’s newly developed remote
sensing technologies and models, and PDC’s DisasterAWARE hazard
monitoring and early warning system, officials were able to
make more informed disaster response decisions by quickly
understanding flood severity and extent.
“By combining (different flood) models, we can find where models
agree, and increase the confidence of the final output (right
image) for decision makers,” said PDC’s Deputy Executive Director
Serving the global community, this new capability will be
operationalized to serve an entire global community of end-users
who use PDC’s DisasterAWARE.
“By integrating these new capabilities into DisasterAWARE,
the NASA-derived information is able to reach decision makers
with timely, life-saving information that will anticipate major
flood events with the potential for widespread impacts to
populations and infrastructure,” Chiesa said.
DisasterAWARE is used by tens of thousands of disaster management
professionals, and the Disaster Alert mobile app has been downloaded
nearly two million times.
Future developments, according to PDC Automation and Modeling Lead
Greg Hampe, next on the radar for the global flood modeling
partnership with NASA is new machine learning technologies that
will help provide hyper-localized flood early warning and analysis.
“Applying machine learning tools to the model outputs will yield
a focused and unified picture of flood risk. The results of this
approach constantly improve over time as more data become available
to ‘train’ the machine learning algorithm,” Hampe said.
At present, there is no single flood hazard modeling capability
providing early flood warning for the entire globe.
NASA Earth Science Applied Sciences Disasters program and PDC are
also actively collaborating on a global landslide detection and
early warning technology as part of its common objective to save
lives, property and critical infrastructure around the world.
These are expected to be operationalized in DisasterAWARE by
the end of 2022.
University of Hawaiʻi
Provided by the IKCEST Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Service System