NEC05868 Hydrology, Earth Observations and Modelling Exploration. HydEOMEx

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Rees

Abstract

The key objective of this project is to demonstrate the potential for Earth Observation to improve hydrological situation monitoring for a range of stakeholders. The long-term vision is embed EO into decision making via improved monitoring, new indicators and enhanced modelling through data assimilation. The goal is to use existing EO products (in particular, soil moisture and vegetation condition) and integrate these with existing hydrometeorological monitoring programmes, to assess the potential benefits of a more integrated monitoring system in future.

Planned Impact

Key Outcomes
(1) New datasets of EO and updated hydrometeorological datasets, all on the same format and grid system
(2) Results of soil moisture intercomparison
(3) Asessment of model performance
(4) Appraisal of new indicators for three key sectors (agriculture, water supply, geohazards)
(5) Demonstration of portal concept through a mock-up

The key benefit for stakeholders is that the project will demonstrate the potential utility of EO based information for hydrological monitoring and early warning, and will thus stimulate the development of improved systems in future. It is envisaged that this small pilot project will provide an impetus for a much larger research programme that can consolidate and extend the findings from the case study region to much larger scales, including internationally.
 
Description The Hydrological Earth Observation modelling exploration (HydEOmex) project was a small-scale (£25k) short-term pilot project (running January to May 2016) designed to demonstrate the potential of Earth Observations in hydrological applications for a range of stakeholders. The project was funded by NERC, following a funding 'sandpit' aimed at developing proof-of-concept 'climate services' applications.

The goal of the pilot study was to use EO products (in particular, soil moisture and vegetation condition) and integrate these with existing hydrometeorological monitoring programmes, to evaluate the potential benefits of more integrated monitoring and forecasting systems in future. The focus is on situation monitoring (nowcasting) and forecasting over the monthly-to-seasonal timescale, and not short-term (ie 1-5 day) flood forecasting. However, the potential benefits are clearly not just for drought, but also for early warning of persistent wet periods.

Key outputs:

New datasets of EO and updated hydrometeorological datasets, all on the same format and grid system
Validation of existing hydrological / land surface modelling tools using EO data
Assessment of potential of soil moisture data assimilation (both in-situ and EO) for improving hydro(geo)logical model predictions
Appraisal of new indicators for three key sectors (agriculture, water supply, geohazards)
Demonstration of a pilot web portal to allow visualisation and mapping of datasets.

In this small pilot project, the key output was the demonstration portal that provides an example of how in-situ hydrological observations can be combined with earth observation outputs to provide an integrated service to a wide range of potential end users. The portal combines gridded rainfall and point streamflow measurements with two EO indicators (soil moisture and vegetation condition). It allows users to combine and layer these datasets, map them and to visualise time series.

We further demonstrated the potential of this system through several use cases: the use of earth observation data for (1) Land surface modelling and (2) groundwater recharge modelling. These are described in reports on the website.
Exploitation Route While the project was only a pilot study, the long-term vision is embed EO into decision making via improved monitoring, new indicators and enhanced modelling through data assimilation. The HydEOmex project is an ongoing partnership and plans to build on the demonstration outputs with a much more extensive monitoring system in future.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment,Transport

URL http://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/hydrological-earth-observation-modelling-exploration-hydeomex
 
Description HydEOmex provided a demonstration of a portal for integrating Earth Observation (EO) data with in-situ hydrological observations (e.g. river flows and groundwater). It's main impact in this regard has been in demonstrating the potential value of EO data streams for hydrological monitoring in the UK, which has led to significant stakeholder and practitioner interest in the concept. The ENDOWS project's demonstration portal (see award NEC05069) for SW England borrowed some of the portal concepts from HydEOmex, and the current efforts to integrate EO into the portal stem back to HydEOmex. The HydEOmex project also allowed us to demonstrate to regulators (the EA), agricultural organisations (AHDB) and water companies the 'art of the possible' in terms of interactive, multivariable hydrological monitoring systems. Many such stakeholders are now working with us on the ENDOWS project to deliver these benefits, and have also joined us on subsequent proposals. In this respect, HydEOmex fulfilled it's purpose very well as a short-term, small scale demonstrator that has paved the way for large-scale systems and investments.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Title HydEOmex Demonstration Portal 
Description This demonstrator portal is one of the outcomes of the Hydrological Earth Observation modelling exploration (HydEOmex) project. It allows the user to map and visualise a number of gridded datasets of Earth Observation data (soil moisture and vegetation condition), alongside in-situ data on rainfall, river flows. As well as being a HydEOmex output, the portal uses data developed in the DrIVER project. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact None yet - this is a demonstration portal, further info will be added. However, there is significant interest in this portal from users (e.g. the Environment Agency) and it has been used to showcase the potential for bringing EO and in-situ datasets together. 
URL http://wlwater.ceh.ac.uk/appsdev/hydeomex/about.html
 
Title Water Resource Portal demonstrator for South West England 
Description The water resources SW portal is a stakeholder co-designed demonstrator to showcase the next generation of interactive, dynamic drought monitoring tools for the UK, to build on the Drought Portal described elsewhere in this award. The SW portal showcases a range of innovations, building on the original Portal architecture first developed in the DrIVER and Historic Droughts projects and later extended into the SW portal under the ENDOWS project: - WIde range of datasets including river flow, groundwater and soil moisture - access to raw data as well as standardized indicators - real-time daily updated flow data using the Environment Agency's new API - wide range of mapping and visualisation techniques including use of Return Period bandings on hydrographs, overlay comparisons of past droughts, etc. The product is being further developed in ENDOWS and will eventually be rolled into the national UK drought Portal. The key stakeholders were Southwest Water and the Environment Agency. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Too early for impact yet - but the software tool is very well received by regulators, water companies, etc and we are working on further developments which will lead to impacts in future years once established. 
URL http://eip.ceh.ac.uk/hydrology/south-west/
 
Description Defra Workshop on Drought Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Defra hosted a one-day workshop to discuss the variety of NERC funded drought research underway at present, primarily in the Drought and Water Scarcity Programme.

Jamie Hannaford presented the outcomes and plans of the following projects.
- DrIVER
- Historic Droughts
- HydEOmex
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Environment Agency Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on the prototype outputs of the HydEOMex project to Environment Agency staff by webinar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Soil Moisture Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop brought together UK academics and researchers working on topics related to soil moisture with commercial organisations wanting to use soil moisture information in their products and services. The aim of the workshop is to inform on the current state of technology for soil moisture retrieval (using satellite information, in-situ networks and models) and identify what is currently possible.

We presented the outcomes of the HydEOmex project as an example of an initiative to bring together earth observations and in-situ data on hydrology and soil moisture in particular, within a single user portal. There was significant interest in the portal and we have been contacted by delegates afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://sa.catapult.org.uk/news-events-gallery/events/soil-moisture-workshop/