The forecast for graduate student Safat Sikder’s upcoming research is promising. Having recently received a three-year NASA Fellowship, Sikder will be working to develop cost-effective and sustainable flood forecasting tools for monsoon regions in developing countries.
Sikder, who begins his third year as a Ph.D. student this fall, proposed research for the fellowship titled “Operational Flood Forecasting in Flood-prone River Deltas of the Developing World: Setting the Path Forward for Current and Future Satellite Water Missions.”
Sikder’s research will focus primarily on the monsoon region located in south and southeast Asia, where several heavily populated large river basins are frequently flooded. While the monsoons of southern Asia occur annually, they continue to be hard to predict, causing damage to property and even the loss of lives.
“Almost every year, billions of people in this region are affected by flood,” Sikder said.
Complicating matters, the countries in the monsoon region are reluctant to share data pertaining to flood forecasting, due to hydro-political issues, or water resource politics, Sikder said. This means that the development of a locally based flood forecasting system is not a feasible option in this part of the world.
Sikder’s goal is to develop a sustainable flood forecasting system for developing nations using freely available satellite data and numerical model outputs from the Numerical Weather Prediction Model, hydrologic model and hydrodynamic model to generate flood forecasts for the region.
As part of the project, Sikder attended a recent workshop in Nepal followed by a visit to Bangladesh, where he will present information about the Numerical Weather Prediction model to government officials who are involved with flood forecasting.