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The National Academies
500 5th St NW - KWS 502
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 334-2800
Fax: (202) 334-2139
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Demonstrating the integration of ground-based monitoring and satellite remote sensing for forecasting landslides and flooding hazards in volcanic terrains
PI: José Fredy Cruz, Universidad de El Salvador
US Partner: John S. Gierke, Michigan Technological University
Project Dates: June 2012 - December 2013
As U.S. partner John Gierke and colleague Luke Bowman (at right) look on, PI Jose Fredy Cruz (second from left) supervises a field visit to inspect sites suitable for placing pressure sensors in wells and to explain to the well owners the purpose of the monitoring.
This project will couple long-term, ground-based monitoring of watershed hydrology with remote sensing data in developing computer models of watershed hydrology and risk maps for development institutions. These institutions will be able to use these tools to forecast and plan for rain-induced flood and landslide hazards in steep, partially developed (agricultural), populated volcanic slopes. Spatially comprehensive monitoring with near real-time access to precipitation amounts can be used to better understand the hydrology of large watersheds in steep terrain and the impacts of land use to allow for effective forecasting and communication of hazards posed by excessive rains.
This collaborative effort will take advantage of the different skills and strengths of each participating institution, including remote sensing, data processing, computer modeling, local knowledge of hazard risks and landscape, and hydrological monitoring to create and develop tools to use near real-time precipitation information with previously collected data. The principal investigator and his group at the Universidad de El Salvador (UES) will work with Michigan Tech researchers and students currently serving in the US Peace Corps to establish precipitation and stream/river flow monitoring. Topical workshops in remote sensing and image processing and computer modeling will be delivered by the Michigan Tech group to faculty and students at UES, who will share their understanding of how disaster plans and responses evolve before, during, and after a crisis. UES will also host workshops and a four-month-long diploma program based on the work conducted in this project. The data from this collaborative project will be archived and made public using Web pages and a Web-based database system that will be developed and hosted by the Michigan Tech group through their National Science Foundation-supported work. This project will also leverage ongoing work by a Salvadoran nongovernmental organization (NGO), CEPRODE, for establishing weather monitoring and an international NGO, Caritas, involved with developing hazard mitigation plans.
Summary of Recent Activities
From left to right, lead trainer Prof. Rudiger Escobar Wolf with Luke Bowman, Fredy Cruz, and José Marrero (a visiting student from the University of Puerto Rico—Mayaguez) at MTU during Mr. Cruz’s June 2013 visit (photo courtesy of Fredy Cruz).
Ing. Fredy Cruz and his colleagues continued collecting water level data from wells where they had previously installed Levelogger pressure sensors. Additional Leveloggers were installed in two other wells in the middle part of the basin, which will help the team determine the broader behavior of groundwater movement in the Acahuapa basin. Work has also continued on mapping communities located within hazard zones and analyzing their degree of vulnerability. Ing. Cruz has also held technical meetings with CEPRODE (The Center for Disaster Protection) and other organizations in order to analyze the lahar modeling maps that he worked on in June 2013 while visiting Michigan Tech, and through their discussions the group has identified communities that are in the path of potential landslides. On the infrastructure side, the University of El Salvador (UES) has recently acquired a new server, which will improve communications with Michigan Tech. The new server provides the quality of Internet service needed to make effective use of the videoconferencing equipment purchased and installed this past summer. Michigan Tech has also created a separate server within their IT facilities that allows UES to host a website that publishes an Early Warning System that CEPRODE has installed. The system is connected with weather stations used for climate data collection in the PEER project. The site can be viewed at: http://seatceprode.geo.mtu.edu/seatceprode/index.php
U.S. partners Dr. John Gierke and Luke Bowman are visiting UES November 1-8, 2013, to work on the flood data modeling and install pressure sensors in the Acahuapa riverbed with support from Ing. Cruz and his colleagues. Dr. Josh Richardson of Michigan Tech also joined the research team to conduct seismic surveys on the upper flanks of the San Vicente volcano to better understand the relationship of aquifer depth and slope stability. Although these field efforts were led by the PEER project contributors, they also incorporated representatives from regional institutions and the at-risk communities. Later in November, the Salvadoran PEER researchers will disseminate the preliminary results of the project to the institutions of the paracentral region. The workshop will bring together municipal mayors’ technical assistants, CEPRODE, Ministry of Education, Caritas, Ministry of Health, and the Municipal Civil Protection Commission of San Vicente. As the project draws to its conclusion at the end of 2013, Ing. Cruz and his team expect delivery of two new software packages, GMS Modflow and AQTESOLV, which will enable their group to analyze both flood and groundwater flow aspects of the data collected thus far.
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