Satellites can monitor saturated river basins to forecast disasters
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Small gravitational tugs from waterlogged river basins could give scientists a big advantage in predicting devastating floods, researchers report July 6 in Nature Geoscience.
Hydrologist J.T. Reager and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine looked at data from GRACE, a duo of NASA satellites that detect small changes in Earth’s gravity. As a river basin soaks up water, the satellites record a stronger gravitational pull. Wetter ground is more liable to flood when hit by a surge of rain or snowmelt.