Streamflow Forecasting

MSFC scientists have established working relationships with National Weather Service’s River Forecast Centers (RFC), which have operational responsibilities for flood forecasting. Working closely with Lower Mississippi RFC personnel, MSFC scientists were instrumental in quantifying and benchmarking alternate forecasting approach.


Focus Areas:

  • 3-D soil moisture and temperature modeling
  • Surface routing and streamflow modeling for flood events
  • Improving real-time forecasting of flood magnitude and extent using Stage III rainfall data and HPC 12-hour rainfall forecasts
  • Soil moisture data assimilation

Major Flood Events used for Benchmarking

  • Tropical Storm Allison, 2001
  • Hurricane Lili, 2002
  • Flash Flood Event, Feb 2003


Future Applications of NASA Datasets

NASA datasets in RFC’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS)

  • MODIS based land surface temperatures (LST) for improved evapotranspiration (ET) estimation. Continuous temperature updates would vastly improve the ET estimation.
  • Soil moisture products from AMSR-E can provide an excellent antecedent condition for reinitializing an operational hydrologic model. Currently, independent verification of existing moisture conditions cannot be performed. Space-based moisture updates will be of a significant enhancement to the forecasts.

Technical Contact: Dr. Ashutosh Limaye (
Responsible Official: Dr. James L. Smoot (
Page Curator: Diane Samuelson (