The impact of SMOS soil moisture data assimilation within the Operational Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS)

Baugh, Calum; de Rosnay, Patricia; Lawrence, Heather; Jurlina, Toni; Drusch, Matthias; Zsoter, Ervin; Prudhomme, Christel. 2020 The impact of SMOS soil moisture data assimilation within the Operational Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) [in special issue: Microwave remote sensing for hydrology] Remote Sensing, 12 (9), 1490. 22, pp.

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In this study the impacts of Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) soil moisture data assimilation upon the streamflow prediction of the operational Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) were investigated. Two GloFAS experiments were performed, one which used hydro-meteorological forcings produced with the assimilation of the SMOS data, the other using forcings which excluded the assimilation of the SMOS data. Both sets of experiment results were verified against streamflow observations in the United States and Australia. Skill scores were computed for each experiment against the observation datasets, the differences in the skill scores were used to identify where GloFAS skill may be affected by the assimilation of SMOS soil moisture data. In addition, a global assessment was made of the impact upon the 5th and 95th GloFAS flow percentiles to see how SMOS data assimilation affected low and high flows respectively. Results against in-situ observations found that GloFAS skill score was only affected by a small amount. At a global scale, the results showed a large impact on high flows in areas such as the Hudson Bay, central United States, the Sahel and Australia. There was no clear spatial trend to these differences as opposing signs occurred within close proximity to each other. Investigating the differences between the simulations at individual gauging stations showed that they often only occurred during a single flood event; for the remainder of the simulation period the experiments were almost identical. This suggests that SMOS data assimilation may affect the generation of surface runoff during high flow events, but may have less impact on baseflow generation during the remainder of the hydrograph. To further understand this, future work could assess the impact of SMOS data assimilation upon specific hydrological components such as surface and subsurface runoff.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 2072-4292
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: hydrology, soil moisture, forecasting, data assimilation
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 26 May 2020 15:42 +0 (UTC)

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