Global floods monitoring using mainstream media

An important part of forecasting is monitoring. Traditionally, most scientists would associate monitoring first of all with in-situ measurements (e.g. discharge) or remote sensing data such as satellites or radar. For example, the blog post reporting from the French Flash Floods in June 2013 shows many nice hydrogaphs – a quantitative way of representing floods – provided that gauges and experts are available.

However, perhaps technology is ripe to offer us other –qualitative – means to monitor floods and more importantly, not just the magnitude but the impact of floods.  At the end of the French floods blog post are news reports, which illustrate an alternative method of gaining some insight into an event and  additional observations.  Monitoring of media is fairly common in many larger organisations. The use of social media in natural disasters has also demonstrated benefits. The same technologies can be used to monitor main stream media reports of floods on global scale. This has been done in the figure below or click [here] for more information.

Maps like this can help trans-national  organizations to have a quick overview and then investigate in more detail. Maybe, they could also be used in a data assimilation framework.

What do you think: How can this be used within a HEPEX setting? Is it useful?


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