Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA helps Texas respond to most widespread flooding in 50 years

07.08.2007
On July 3, a NASA aircraft equipped with a state-of-the-art sensor provided emergency response officials with critical soil moisture data for several regions across Texas that were threatened by flooding. NASA responded to the heavy rains and flooding in Texas by redirecting a NASA research aircraft, the P-3B, to Texas after it completed an interagency project in Oklahoma.

The aircraft had been flying a sensor developed by the University of Colorado at Boulder, NOAA and U.S. Department of Agriculture that could provide detailed maps of ground surface water. At the request of researchers at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Technology, which built the sensor, NASA detoured the plane to Texas to help emergency response teams there better track the areas subject to flash flooding.

On June 13, a low-pressure weather system entered Texas from the Rocky Mountains and persisted until July 7, triggering storms across the state that flooded every major river basin. The state received more than three times the average rainfall for the period. Nearly two dozen people were killed in the flooding. At one point during the crisis, officials measured 19 inches of rainfall in just 24 hours. Eight inches of rain fell in one hour over Marble Falls, a town 70 miles west of Austin. During the first week of July, Texas officials accepted an offer from the University of Colorado and NASA to fly the sensor over a large area. During the day-long mission, the Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer, an airborne remote-sensing system, enabled researchers to quickly create soil moisture maps identifying areas where additional rainfall could lead to flooding. "During the floods, the instrument aboard NASA's P-3B aircraft flew over areas where the greatest rainfall had been forecast and informed us of the degree of saturation of the soil in urban and rural locations at a time when we had no other means of making those judgments for such a broad area," said Gordon Wells, program manager at the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin. "The data enabled the state to stage Coast Guard and Department of Public Safety helicopters in those areas to stand by for search-and-rescue should it have been necessary."

"We're always concerned about when and where the next flooding conditions may occur, especially if it may affect major metropolitan areas like Austin or San Antonio, or a remote, hard-to-access rural area where only air evacuation may be possible," said Wells. Wells works with state officials regularly in search-and-rescue emergencies, overseeing field teams that must decide what resources to deploy – including several hundred boats and several aircraft – depending on the nature and extent of the crisis.

According to Wells, NASA's P-3B and the onboard sensor contributed to officials' full awareness of the flood situation, and became an extra tool they used to make decisions. "It's important to pre-plan how to prevent casualties and injuries. So the more we know and the sooner we know it, the more casualties can be avoided," said Wells.

State officials typically would have relied on reports of flooding on roads and highways to help them predict the likelihood of future flooding in the affected areas, as well as imaging radar data to identify the location of pooled water and the level of reservoirs. "The first-cut data product sent to Wells' team from the P-3B provided them with images of precise, geographically identifiable points of concern for flooding," said Al Gasiewski, principal investigator for the sensor at the University of Colorado and director of the school’s Center for Environmental Technology. “Our team has worked with NASA over several years to develop airborne microwave mapping technology. We’re pleased to see it used for humanitarian purposes.” "From the Sabine River near the eastern Texas-Louisiana border to the Nueces River in the southwest, the Red River to the north and the Colorado River that cuts across the state, heavy rains these last few weeks unleashed some of the worst flash flooding this state has seen. We're very pleased and grateful that NASA and the university offered to assist with a mission that very well may have helped save lives," said Wells.

“This was really a joint effort between NASA, the University of Colorado and the University of Texas of which all of our organizations can be proud.” said Gasiewski. “It was an important demonstration of new technology, close teamwork, rapid response, and interagency coordination. There are many positive lessons that can be learned from it.”

Lynn Chandler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/flooding_50.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA examines Peru's deadly rainfall

24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?

24.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Steep rise of the Bernese Alps

24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>