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Abstract - Dara Entekhabi

New Types of Observations for Hydrologic Hazards and Water Management Using Remote-Sensing Instruments

Decision-support tools and models – and altogether understanding frameworks - used for managing water resources and natural hazards naturally form around the available types of observations. This is akin to evolutionary adaptation where the available resources or scarcities lead to survival of those species that are most fit given the circumstances. Hydrologic hazards and water management have likewise adapted to work with the available monitoring capabilities. For example long-standing use of precipitation gauges measurements as inflow and streamflow outflow based on river stage measurements have led to the adoption of the catchment as the basic conceptual framework with rainfall-runoff transformation as the key mechanism for obtaining the inputs for hydrologic hazards mitigation and water management. What happens when the types of available environmental data radically change over the short span of a few decades? Are the existing frameworks and models as fit as before to work with the new data types such as mapping remote sensing measurements? Will they be able to extract the full information content of the new measurements? Or will those frameworks and models need to give way to new ones?