International satellite data aids France flooding analysis

Data from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM), a joint undertaking of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has helped determine where the largest rainfall leading to the recent floods in France occurred. The data was examined using NASA's Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) algorithm and an IMERG-derived map for the Seine River flooding is available online.

While unusually heavy rainfall affected large parts of France in January, the rainfall accumulation map shows that the highest precipitation was observed over the north-east of France and along the Seine River, east of Paris during 17 to 25 January. IMERG data estimates that rainfall totals greater than 180mm occurred along the Seine River.

Other regions in France where the heaviest rainfall occurred include Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy, Île-de-France, Champagne-Ardenne, Burgundy, Centre-Val de Loire and Franche-Comté. Areas in east-central Switzerland also experienced similar high rainfall totals. Western France was also affected -with Brittany, Pays De La Loire, Poitou-Charentes and Limousin receiving more than 150mm of rainfall in the same period.

France flooding continues

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated on 23 January due to the flooding in France. The floods have caused damage in 242 towns along the Seine River.

The flooding is still affecting large parts of France. The French national weather agency, Meteo France, has issued orange alerts to 11 departments across the country, including the surrounding areas of Paris. The French Flood monitoring agency, Vigicrues, also continues to issue alerts. Such flood warnings are expected to remain in place over the coming days.

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission

IMERG is derived using data from Global Precipitation Measurement mission - a network of international satellites which can measure precipitation from space. Using this dataset, it is possible to calculate the amount of accumulated rainfall for any region over a given period of time.

NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the GPM Core Observatory satellite in 2014.

A major part of the Global Precipitation Measurement mission is to contribute to forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters.

This article was contributed by Jack Kavanagh, UN Online Volunteer mobilized through