New statistical model can accurately predict floods

A novel statistical model that can accurately predict the time and duration of floods has been developed by researchers, including one of Indian origin.

The model created by Nasser Najibi and Naresh Devineni from The City College of New York in the US can also accurately determine the timescale of flooding.

The duration of floods can be determined by river flow, precipitation and atmospheric blocking.

“It is possible to predict the duration of floods by coupling atmospheric dynamics and land surface conditions in the watershed,” said Najibi.

The researchers found that long duration floods first require high flow conditions in rivers created by recurrent high intensity rainfall events, which is then followed by a large stable long-lived low-pressure system — a storm cell.

These conditions may then result in large-scale devastating floods, according to the study published in the journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science.

In shorter duration floods, however, this land-atmospheric coupling is negligible thus explaining why all storms do not result in widespread flooding.

Researchers said the model can help mitigate potential risk imposed by longer duration floods on critical infrastructure systems such as flood control dams, bridges and power plants. It is also possible to predict how long the duration of flooding and inundation will be, researchers said.