Soil moisture data can be used for drought prediction and to improve flood forecasts. Data sets derived from satellite sensors are freely available in near real time. The image archives on soil moisture go back to the late 1970s.
Massive floods have heavily affected regions in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and other European countries over the past days taking at least five human lives and causing damages of a yet undetermined extent. In order to better prepare for such floods in the future, satellites such as ESA's SMOS could help to improve the accuracy of flood prediction by measuring the soil moisture.