RCMRD Workshop on Flood Forecasting in Nairobi

RCMRD Laura Holtzman, Dr. Zachary Flamig, Dr. Race Clark

OSDC Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Fellow and now postdoc at the Center for Data Intensive Science at the University of Chicago, Zachary Flamig, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya this past week to work with the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources For Development (RCMRD). RCMRD operates underneath the African Union umbrella while contracting with 20 states in Eastern & Southern Africa with a goal of promoting sustainable development in member states. RCMRD focuses on hosting training workshops teaching people GIS, mapping and related skills. Included in this focus is a strong linkage to mapping disasters for mitigation and management to help save lives and property across the region.

NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) conduct a joint program called SERVIR aimed at helping people solve challenges in the areas of natural disasters, food security, and water resources. As part of this program NASA funds Applied Science Teams (AST) to do research and travel to the SERVIR hubs, of which RCMRD is one, for capacity building workshops. Dr. Flamig is working closely with a AST run by the University of Oklahoma focused on developing capacity for flash flood and flood prediction. The Oklahoma team has a distributed hydrologic modeling framework called the Ensemble Framework For Flash Flood Forecasting, previously developed by Dr. Flamig during his Masters and Ph.D. studies, which they are transferring to RCMRD for use in informing decision makers about impending flooding problems.

Last week was the first of six workshops that the AST will be hosting in the region over the next three years. 20 trainees were present at the workshop representing universities, Kenyan government agencies, and RCMRD itself. The workshop was considered a success by both the AST and RCMRD as the EF5 system was able to be used by the trainees at the end of the workshop. In addition to the workshop the AST focused on planning for the future with RCMRD. The next workshop this year is likely to feature two components with a starter workshop for EF5 in Uganda followed by more advanced training at RCMRD.

The OCC is very pleased that Dr. Flamig, the scientific lead for the Environmental Data Commons and the NOAA Big Data Project (BDP) was able to participate in this workshop promoting increased data use and access. The RCMRD workshop aligns with the OCC's mission to support and enhance access to community based science initiatives.

Flood Stream Flow in Southern Africa

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