Traditionally models have used gauging information from gauging stations managed by the Environment Agency. New technology is increasingly being applied. LiDAR ( Light Detection and Ranging) derived from satellites is particularly useful to derive Digital Elevation Models [ DEM] coupled with GIS ( Geographical Information System) they can be used for to test flood models. Mobile terrestrial LiDAR mounted on a vehicle can capture georeferenced data of features in a floodplain including vegetation, barriers, structures and even kerb heights.
Yes but are these models accurate ?
Models can be tested against real events such as the Boxing Day Floods of 2015.
The growth of digital media in the public realm ( CCTV) or through social media allows the calibration of models with real events, particularly useful in urban areas where the combination of infrastructure below ground adds to the complexity of flood events.
Anecdotal and historical data for example, using historical flood data from County Records Offices is really useful .
Citizen-generated data such as the survey work by the Calder Catchment Flood Studies Network helps to calibrate these models.
For example, in Oxford, the Oxford Flood Network has affixed their own sensors to structures on inundated flood plains. This is not just about generating more data, this project helps wider initiatives to communicate flood risk.
Robin Gray CMLI
South Pennines Local Nature Partnership