Scientists study water discharge from rivers using satellite technology

Scientists study water discharge from rivers using satellite technology

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24 May 2006: Using NASA’s advanced Earth-observing satellites, scientists have discovered a new opportunity to build early detection systems that might protect thousands from floods and landslides. Robert Brakenridge and his colleagues at Dartmouth College, Hanover, are using satellite microwave sensors to estimate water discharge from rivers by measuring almost daily changes in river widths.

Kwabena Asante, a senior scientist at U.S. Geological Survey in Sioux Falls, S.D., led the research that puts forward an innovative method of mapping floods around the globe using a combination of data. The research used data from several NASA satellites — the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, Aqua, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, QuikSCAT and Earth Observing-1 — and NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental satellites.

This new development could offer a practical solution to the significant challenge of creating cost-effective early warning systems particularly needed in data scarce, rural areas.