Theme III - Water Predictions

The most significant factor in human vulnerability to climate is the impact of climate variability and change on water resources. The ability to make precise predictions about this detrimental risk is challenging, especially when human populations, land use change, and other factors are also affecting water futures. Theme III focuses on developing a unified water prediction system using remote sensing of earth systems. This work aligns with the NOAA’s “Water Prediction” research priority. Unified water prediction and modeling methodologies will be created to aid the development of operational products and services. The Theme includes climate-informed integrated water and ecosystems modeling, socio-economic impacts and vulnerability assessments. The work also supports NOAA’s mission to provide improved protection of life and property from natural hazards, and for a better understanding of the total environment.

Project I. Hydrologic extremes – A systematic risk assessment of droughts and floods using in-situ and remote sensing products

The discussion on climate adaptation and mitigation invariably comes to recognize that many of the potential impacts on society are felt through changes in the regional water resources. Anthropogenic changes in global climate are expected to lead to changes in regional average precipitation and evaporation, or in increased variability in these attributes. These changes may manifest as change in the intermittency or frequency and intensity of rainfall events, alteration or extension of the dominant wet/warm/cold season(s), or shift in the inter-annual frequency and persistence of wet and drought years. Such extremes can have adverse impacts on the natural ecosystem, society and the economy of the region. Consequently, it is important to explore strategies for adaptation to natural hazards and to manage the potentially impacted sectors. In this work, we will address this significant area, exploring the modeling, and prediction of floods and droughts, their climate and atmospheric determinants, and how these may affect interlinked human activities at multiple scales of cities and river basins.

Project II. Data assimilation for multi-tiered now cast runoff system

The project will implement a lightweight hydrological model testbed at different regions for implementing new hydrological data assimilation methods that could be integrated into then National Water Model developed by NOAA for operational river discharge, flood and drought forecasting. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the Consortium of Universities to Advance Hydrological Science (CUAHSI), which regularly organizes the CUAHSI Summer Institute at the NOAA National Water Center, Tuscaloosa, AL to provide scientific support for the NWM development.