Spring Flood watched by satellite

Spring Flood watched by satellite

May 18, 2004

The first weekend in May this year was the warmest since 1934. Snow melting in Norwegian mountains speeded up rapidly, leading to high water levels in the main rivers. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate sent out warnings for a "10 - 20 year flood".

Hallindal was affected the most. Thursday 6. May the press reported flooded camping grounds and closed roads. By Saturday the water level was receding most places.

The pictures show Hallingdal river, Thursday 6. May 09:53, Friday 7. May 22:50 og Sunday 9. May 09:59. Pictures are captured by the ASAR sensor on the ENVISAT satellite. Radar satellites have the great advantage that they can observe the Earth night and day undisturbed by weather or light conditions. In flooding periods the chances are very high that the sky is covered with thick clouds which prevent the use of optical satellite images.

Detailed information about flood extension and progress in time will eventually lead to improved flood warning as well as better flood zone mapping and strengthened flood barriers. In the EU financed project FloodMan Norut IT and seven European partners are developing methods for quick and accurate observation of flood progress with radar satellites. The objective is to develop a near-realtime service for distribution of satellite images within a couple of hours.

The picture series was prosessed by PhD.-stipendiat Stian Solbø For more information contact Dr. Inger Solheim