Australia: Radar data is being used to track flood situation in New South Wales (NSW), Australia for the first time and it is providing the most accurate flood predictions yet seen in NSW, Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The latest radar satellite data has allowed the State Emergency Service to plan ahead and evacuate areas long before the waters begin to rise. The operation is being run by the University of NSW, which is co-operating with German and Italian operators, who have programmed their satellite to scan inland NSW and map the swelling rivers and lakes.
”The problem with taking photographs from aircraft is you can’t always see the ground, but radar can see through the clouds,” said associate professor Linlin Ge, the manager of the programme.
Using radar also avoids the problem of confusing turbid, brown floodwater with land because water reflects radar waves back to the satellite in a uniform way, whereas the earth partially absorbs the waves.
”We just send the request to Italy and Germany and they programme their satellites to take photos from their orbits at the right time,” Dr Ge said. ”Once the image is taken, we have to wait for it to travel to their ground-receiving station, then for it to be rendered as an image.”
It takes about six hours from the request being lodged to a detailed map of flood-stricken areas being handed to SES staff.