Improving flood forecasting in international river basins

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Abstract

In flood-prone international river basins (IRBs), many riparian nations that are located close to a basin's outlet face a major problem in effectively forecasting flooding because they are unable to assimilate in situ rainfall data in real time across geopolitical boundaries. NASA's propose Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, which is expected to begin in 2010, will comprise high-resolution passive microwave (PM) sensors (at resolution ∼3-6 hours, 10 x 10 square kilometers) that may provide new opportunities to improve flood forecasting in these river basins.

Research is now needed to realize the potential of GPM. With adequate research in the coming years, it may be possible to identify the specific IRBs that would benefit cost-effectively from a preprogrammed satellite-based forecasting system in anticipation of GPM. Acceleration of such a research initiative is worthwhile because it could reduce the risk of the cancellation of GPM [see Zielinski, 2005].

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