Unknowncountry.com reports that a new study by hydrologist J.T. Reager and a team at the University of California indicates that when river basins absorb water, the local region exerts a stronger gravitational pull. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, used two NASA satellites known as the GRACE system, which detected variations in gravity from saturated river basins. These readings appear to accurately warn of flooding. Reager and colleagues analyzed data demonstrating that water-logged ground is more likely to flood when besieged by downpours or melting ice. Jay Famiglietti, senior author of the study, said, "These data can show us when river basins have been filling with water over several months. We're not talking about actual flooding but about the saturation level of the ground and its predisposition to flooding. When it finally rains and the basin is full, there is nowhere else for the water to go."
The scientists believe this specific data provides the foundation for an early-warning system—possibly months in advance—that could save lives and prevent billions of dollars of damage to structures and crops. Let's hope the funding isn't redirected to Amazon Prime's drone-delivery program, eh?
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