If you’ve tried our flooding simulator already you’ll know that flooding depends on a set of circumstances coming together to cause a flood. In real life forecasters use millions of pieces of data from instruments on the ground, on planes, balloons and satellites.
By combining these records with the power of a supercomputer, they then create a picture of where all the water is right now – and where it will be in a day, in a week, or in a fortnight from now.
Providing this early warning means that actions can be taken to prepare for the devastating impacts of huge floods before they happen, rather than just dealing with them after they have happened.
Two events where this proved to be crucial were the monsoon floods in Bangladesh in 2020 and when tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth landed in Mozambique in 2019. You can hear from the scientists involved in predicting these events:
If you’d like to know more Sazzad has written about his work forecasting floods in Bangladesh.
If you’d like to know more Andrea has written about his and Rebecca’s work on Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which forms part of the wider Forecasts for Anticipatory Humanitarian Aid (FATHUM) project led by Professor Hannah Cloke.