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Geo Week 2018

At GEO week 2018, Jim Nelson with Angelica Gutierrez-Magness from NOAA presented an alternative to gathering streamflow data. Gathering streamflow measurements is very expensive due to their large cost to build, install, and maintain the necessary infrastructure. This high cost and lack of cooperation among countries cause uninformed decision making in many regions of the world.

BYU with other GeoGlows partners has created a global streamflow forecast model for the entire world. This model utilizes thee growing capability of supercomputing, hydrologic modeling, big data, and more to create a holistic approach to streamflow prediction. Because of its holistic nature, the streamflow forecast model provides actionable data to decision makers that would normally have little to none.

The global streamflow model uses the European Center for Medium-ranged Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)’s global model and applies it to specific streams throughout the world. The ECMWF’s model is provides a 15-day forecast and over 30 years of historical simulations but does not provide specific enough information for local decision makers. The global streamflow model uses the information from ECMWF’s model and builds a higher resolution model containing individual streams and rivers. This allows local decision makers to identify specific areas at risk of flooding and other actionable data.

The global streamflow forecast also helps decision makers to visualize streamflow. Multiple applications have already been made to show areas of high discharge and the likelihood of certain events of happening. This visualization helps non-expert decision makers understand what the data means. As these web applications progress, the global streamflow forecast will become clearer and give more information to decision makers.

The global streamflow forecast changes how streamflow information is created and spread. Conventionally, each water organization had to invest in expensive equipment to gather information and create their own models to forecast streamflow. Using this global streamflow service, these organizations can access data directly through web services to be used in decision making. The streamflow forecast model also combines the expertise of global experts to create a cheaper and more accurate data around the world. BYU invites others to join them as they seek to improve upon this model and allow informed decision makers around the world.

You can see the full presentation on YouTube here.