Scientists Track Rainfall To See How Earth’s Surface Can Assist In Forecasting Flooding

Scientists may have found an essential way to forecast floods, one way is tracking rainfall. If scientists map how heavy rainfall causes Earth’s crust to sag and swell, they...

Scientists may have found an essential way to forecast floods, one way is tracking rainfall. If scientists map how heavy rainfall causes Earth’s crust to sag and swell, they could possibly find a better way to predict floods.

In August 2017, hurricane Harvey broke records with its downpours, accumulating 95 cubic kilometers of water and completely decimated the city of Houston. By using daily elevation data from 219 GPS stations, while simultaneously tracking Harvey, scientists were able to trace the rise and fall of the planet surface.

Geodesist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Christopher Milliner was fixated on finding a new approach to track storm-water. The rainfall was so heavy in some parts of the Gulf Coast, they sunk by as much as 21 millimeters. Afterward, it rebounded, depending on how fast the water flowed away or evaporated. Milliner and his team believe this data can aid them in future predictions of flooding.

The meteorological forecasts do indeed track heavy rainfall, as well as assist communities to prepare for floods. Unfortunately, meteorological forecasts cannot always predict where the water will end up, or how will it change the area waterways. Due to the weight of Harvey’s floodwaters, the Earth’s crust gained deformation.

Milliner still wants to run more tests with smaller storms.

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