The Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre (RFMMC) has been established in Phnom Penh, Cambodia under the umbrella of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). One of the main objectives of the RFMMC is to establish an improved, robust and reliable flood forecasting system for short and especially medium-term forecast periods. This system is identified as the new MRC Mekong Flood Forecasting System (MRC Mekong FFS). By far the largest source of error in the Mekong system is the inconsistency of accurate precipitation inputs. Therefore, in this study, different methods were investigated to use observations from rain gauge measurements to adjust satellite rainfall estimates (SRE). To improve the accuracy of the MRC Mekong FFS the bias corrected satellite precipitation estimates were subsequently implemented in this system.

The Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre (RFMMC) has been established in Phnom Penh, Cambodia under the umbrella of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). The Centre plays an important role in maintaining the national and regional availability of important flood-related tools, data, skills and knowledge; producing accurate regional forecasts with suitable lead time, and a timely and effective dissemination of it; in providing accurate, well documented and consistent tools for basin-wide flood risks assessment and trans-boundary impact assessment.

The main objective of the RFMMC at present is to establish an improved, robust and reliable flood forecasting system for short and especially medium-term forecast periods. This system is identified as the new MRC Mekong Flood Forecasting System (MRC Mekong FFS).

By far the largest source of error in the Mekong system is the inconsistency of accurate precipitation inputs. These errors can accumulate over a season and lead to modeled basin conditions that drift from reality. Previous MRC consultants recommended the RFMMC should investigate methods to use observations from rain gauge measurements to adjust satellite rainfall estimates (SRE) prior to being input to the forecasting system. Implementing this recommendation would allow significant improvements in accuracy for the MRC Mekong flood forecasts.

Taking into account the required and expected performance of the new MRC Mekong Flood Forecasting System (FFS), this project responds to these recommendations and the following outputs were delivered during this assignment:

  • The scientific basis for adjusting the bias of NOAA SRE with rain gauge information available for the Mekong Basin, considering its unique properties
  • A proposed operational methodology/tool to implement rain gauge-based bias correction to NOAA SRE into the MRC Flood Forecast operations
  • Implementation of rain gauge-based bias correction to NOAA SRE into the MRC Mekong FFS (Mekong-FEWS).

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