News & Events



​Integrating Global Remote Sensing and Modeling Systems for Local Flood Prediction and Impact Assessment

Published on: 19-Feb-2019

Event Type: Seminar
Event Date: 19 February 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Dr. Albert Kettner

About the speaker:

Dr. Kettner received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering & Geosciences (2007) at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands where he studied local and global fluvial supply dynamics to the coastal zone. With numerical models he investigates the impact of long-term climate and sea-level controls on riverine water and sediment fluxes and how these fluxes change over time. On shorter timescales, Kettner focuses on anthropogenic changes (e.g. altering of land use and placement of reservoirs) and how these impact water discharge and sediment flux.

Dr. Kettner has been from the start (2006) intimitly involved in a numerical modeling facility, Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado, USA, which is the numerical modeling center supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. He is an active advocate of free available, open source code of numerical models for Earth Surface processes and as such responsible for the various CSDMS repositories.

He has been involved in DFO – Flood Observatory since 2011, currently housed at the Univerity of Colorado and is since 2018 the Director. DFO observes surface water changes by ulitizing satellite data. For DFO he designs and implements GIS frameworks to automate free available DFO product distribution for e.g. global flood inundation maps, and remotely sensed water gauging stations.

About the event:

Flooding occurs on all continents and impacts over half a billion people every year worldwide. This is more than any other natural hazard and may increase to two billion by 2050. Occurring both in developed, as well as less developed countries, flooding is the most common hazard worldwide. Over the last decade, floods caused circa 100,000 fatalities with an additional 1.4 billion people directly affected and contributes to a global-average annual loss of US$104 billion. While some events are more seasonal – so easier to anticipate for, large floods tend to be more episodic which makes flooding difficult to predict. And although flooding can be very impactful for communities and countries, there hasn’t been a global effort to identify and determine global flood risk areas.

Furthermore, due to lack of objective knowledge of the impact of flooding after the fact, first relief agency assistance is often constrained and therefore less effective. However, these humanitarian catastrophes could be reduced with better transformation of existing observational and modeling technologies into information useful to local populations and decision makers. Most hydrological observational and modeling capabilities are global or regional, but products and services offered need to be local. First aid agencies require information at an order of magnitude finer spatial scales (for example for urban flooding) than what is typically available, e.g. flood maps that show affected regions.

Here I present new efforts to produce a state-of-the-art, globally-scoped, flood prediction, monitoring capabilities and risk evaluations platform that is interactive and includes high resolution flood information to better serve local needs. The platform builds upon already operational or quasi-operational NASA-supported global flood systems, including the DFO - Flood Observatory satellite-based hydrological gauging stations, UMD Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS) and have these integrated with the European Commission’s GloFAS, and SAR-based high-resolution flood mapping. This all with the intension to have these data layers (flood forecasting, flood extent, and flood history) available to everybody.

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