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 - May 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
One highlight of the first quarter of 2013 was the March visit of U.S. partner John Gierke, PhD student Luke Bowman, and MS student Jordan Mayer from MTU to UES. During their stay, they participated in planning meetings with UES staff and representatives of other local institutions involved in risk assessment and management. They also trained UES project participants on three software packages used to collect, process, and analyze field data. Fortunately the long procurement process that had delayed efforts on the project for the past several months had been completed and the equipment received by the time of the visit, so the MTU visitors also worked with their counterparts to review and prepare it for installation. Fieldwork conducted during the visit included placement of pressure sensors in local wells after consultations with the property owners, review of the existing network of weather stations in the local area, and installation of a Davis weather station on the UES campus. While the well sensors and associated devices were purchased with PEER Science funds, the new weather station was donated by the Salvadoran Center for Disaster Protection (CEPRODE). UES is working closely with CEPRODE, and some staff from the Center also attended the software training sessions noted above. PEER funds were further leveraged by the recent donation of 15 new computers and GIS software by the International Cooperation Agency of Korea (KOICA). In the coming months, well monitoring and data collection from the new sensors will continue, and the UES team will also gather information from local communities regarding the socioeconomic aspects associated with disaster risks. PI Fredy Cruz also plans to visit MTU for two weeks of training and collaborative work beginning in late June 2013, pending issuance of his visa. He will be requesting a no-cost extension in the near future to allow more time to complete his project past the current end date of May 31, 2013.
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