Predicting floods in the himalayan region: using satellite rainfall estimates and models

Early warning of floods is essential for helping to save lives, property, and livelihoods from the adverse impacts of flooding. In order to provide early warning, however, it is necessary to know how much rain is falling where and when, and how much of it will flow downstream. In the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, monsoon rains in the mountains swell rivers and threaten hundreds of millions of people downstream with massive floods, but there is little rainfall information available. Recent advances in estimating rainfall from satellite observations, and using models to predict the flow of water in rivers, offer a chance to overcome some of these problems and help people to know when floods are coming. This information sheet describes some of the first experiments using these methods on a regional scale to predict floods in the downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra river basins.