Wu, H., R.F. Adler, Y. Hong, Y. Tian, and F. Policelli, 2012: “Evaluation of global flood detection using satellite-based rainfall and a hydrologic model.” Journal of Hydrometeorology, v. 13, pp. 1268–1284, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-11-087.1.
A new version of a real-time global flood monitoring system (GFMS) driven by Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) rainfall has been developed and implemented using a physically based hydrologic model. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the performance of this new version of the GFMS in terms of flood event detection against flood event archives to establish a baseline of performance and directions for improvement. This new GFMS is quantitatively evaluated in terms of flood event detection during the TRMM era (1998–2010) using a global retrospective simulation (3-hourly and 1/8° spatial resolution) with the TMPA 3B42V6 rainfall. Four methods were explored to define flood thresholds from the model results, including three percentile-based statistical methods and a Log Pearson type-III flood frequency curve method. The evaluation showed the GFMS detection performance improves [increasing probability of detection (POD)] with longer flood durations and larger affected areas. The impact of dams was detected in the validation statistics, with the presence of dams tending to result in more false alarms and greater false-alarm duration. The GFMS validation statistics for flood durations >3 days and for areas without dams vary across the four methods, but center around a POD of ~0.70 and a false-alarm rate (FAR) of ~0.65. The generally positive results indicate the value of this approach for monitoring and researching floods on a global scale, but also indicate limitations and directions for improvement of such approaches. These directions include improving the rainfall estimates, utilizing higher resolution in the runoff-routing model, taking into account the presence of dams, and improving the method for flood identification.