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NASA Water Resources Program and LDAS for Improved Water Management

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011
NASA Water Resources Program and LDAS for Improved Water Management
Washington State Convention Center
David L. Toll, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and B. Doorn

The NASA Applied Sciences Program (ASP) works within NASA Earth sciences to leverage investment of satellite and information systems to increase the benefits to society through the widest practical use of NASA technology and research results. Such observations and data provide a huge volume of valuable data in both near-real-time and retrospectively about the Earth's land-hydrology conditions such as land cover type, vegetation type and health, precipitation, snow, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, water levels and radiation. Observations of this type combined with land surface models and data integration and assimilation systems enable satellite-based assessment of numerous water resources management activities. The NASA Water Resources Program Element within ASP addresses concerns and decision making related to water quantity and water quality.

The goal of the NASA Water Resources Program is to encourage water management organizations to use Earth science data, models, technology and other capabilities in their decision support tools for problem solving related to water resource management The NASA Water Resources Program organizes its projects under five functional themes.

1) Streamflow and Flood Forecasting 2) Water Supply and Irrigation (Includes evapotanspiration) 3) Drought 4) Water Quality 5) Climate and Water Resources

Currently NASA Water Resources is supporting 21 funded projects with 11 additional projects being concluded. The use of Land Data Assimilation Systems (LDAS) for improved water resources is a key cross-cutting application and key component of the program. These LDAS projects provide a mechanism to take state of the art enhancements by NASA and the Earth science community that can me optimized and implemented to address issues in water resources. This paper will emphasize current and linked LDAS projects, including the: 1) Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) being expanded for famine relief to many developing nations of the world using a NASA LDAS; 2) Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) global hydrology mapping program, extending their global hydrology to much finer resolutions through use of a NASA optimized LDAS; 3) Middle East and North African (MENA) LDAS, optimized by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center for improved regional water availability, aquifer monitoring, food security, and climate impacts on water resources; 4) NASA-George Mason - NOAA NOHRSC (National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center) project to test and develop an optimized NASA LDAS for potential North American gridded water availability to 1 km run both retrospectively and in near-real time.; and 5) NOAA NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) and NASA joint project work using multi-model LDAS for monitoring drought through the US Drought Monitor and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).