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Congress: 2008
Author(s): Thomas Hopson, Mekonnen Gebremichael, Tom Warner, Scott Swerdlin
authors 1,3, and 4: Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research author 2: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut

Keyword(s): flood, forecasting, ensemble, operational, awash, discharge, ethiopia, probabilistic
AbstractThe Awash River in northeast Ethiopia is one of this country’s primary rivers. The majority of this country’s irrigation projects are located within this basin, and as such it is vital for Ethiopia’s economic health. However, this river is also subject to severe flooding that not only destroys the agricultural infrastructure of this basin, but also has led to large-scale evacuations and loss of human life and livestock. The objective of this research is to provide an advanced operational warning system to the people of this basin of severe river flows. This system is similar to the fully-automated system currently operational for the country of Bangladesh, which is based on the application of global circulation model ensemble weather forecasts, and near- real-time NASA TRMM and NOAA CMORPH satellite and NOAA CPC rain gauge precipitation estimates, and near-real-time discharge estimates from the Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre. In order to generate fully automated probabilistic river discharge forecasts out to 10 days in advance, these schemes utilize a hydrologic multi-model, along with statistical dressing and downscaling techniques to merge the weather forecasts and satellite- derived precipitation estimates. These techniques also ensure reliability in both the weather and discharge forecasts, and skill no worse than a climatological forecast or persistence. Results will be presented on the skill of this system as applied to the Awash, at different forecasting time-scales. We stress that this system is designed to be fully operational, and tailored to meet the real humanitarian needs of the people living within this vital basin of Ethiopia.
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