The GO-FEWS project: Flood forecasting on the Rhine river basin using remotely sensed information

The GO-FEWS project is a Dutch research initiative aimed at improving real-time flood forecasting for the river Rhine with a lead time between 2 to 6 days. The improvements of the forecasts are achieved by exploiting remotely sensed observations about the hydrological state of the system.

The project is based on the application of an innovative procedure of assimilating remotely sensed soil moisture observations into a spatially-distributed process-oriented hydrological model. The soil moisture data are derived by processing passive microwave images  from the AMSR-E sensor mounted on the AQUA satellite operated by NASA. 

At present the data assimilation and flood forecasts are applied to the river Mosel Basin, a 30.000 sqkm tributary basin of the Rhine, that contributes with peak discharges of 4000 cm/s to in the Rhine river.


Remotely sensed soil moisture maps of the Rhine basin (courtesy Free University of Amsterdam)

Waterintellect supplies the spatially-distributed process-based hydrological model based on the Representative Elementary Watershed (REW) modeling approach. The REW model constitutes the computational simulation platform used for the data assimilation and the river flow forecasts.

The research is carried bout in collaboration between Delft Hydraulics and the Department of Hydrology and Geo-Environmental Sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam.

The initiative is cosponsored by the Dutch Ministry for Transport and Waterways and by the Dutch Space Agency NIVR-SRON. Data are provided by Riza, the a research Agency within the Ministry and the German Federal Institute of Hydrology. The weather forecasts are supplied by the German Weather Service (DWD) for the operational flood forecasting system for the Rhine.