8. Real-world applications of data assimilation in operational hydrology

A number of scientific and technical challenges still exist to realize the potential of DA in operational hydrology, such as quantification of uncertainties in the observations and model forecasts and making the DA process transparent to operational forecasters. This sub-theme presents examples of real-world applications of DA in operational hydrologic forecasting and water resources management with the goal of fostering collaborations in DA research, development and transition to operations, including those for supporting techniques and tools.

Chair: Albrecht Weerts, Deltares
Keynote 1: Robert Hartman, NWS Office of Hydrologic Development: “Operational Data Assimilation at NWS River Forecast Centers”
Operational data assimilation techniques offer tremendous advantages and benefits to forecasters responsible for generation short, medium, and long range hydrologic predictions.   The objective of even the most primitive technique is pretty straightforward:  “use available information to inform the forecast process and generate a better prediction.”  DA procedures that have won favor with forecasters tend to have very specific attributes.  This presentation will identify a series of common DA approaches used in NWS River Forecast Centers as well as their favorable attributes as applications.  Challenges, goals and benefits of advanced DA techniques will be discussed in the context of the real time hydrologic forecasting process.
Keynote 2: Albrecht Weerts, Deltares, The Netherlands: “Towards Operationalizing Ensemble Data Assimilation in Hydrologic Forecasting”
The need for transitioning of hydrologic DA research into effective operations is evident given the frequent occurrence of extreme events in recent years, increasing availability of new observations and ongoing ICT developments. However, uptake of Ensemble DA in the (operational) hydrologic forecasting arena is still very limited. Obstacles and ways forward have been discussed and reported (Liu et al., 2012). This presentation will discuss several recent advances which result from different past and on- going projects. Opportunities, limitations and lessons learned will be highlighted by looking at three different cases studies: forecasting with distributed hydrologic models (Belgium/France, Meuse), water quality forecasting (South Korea) and forecasting with lumped hydrologic models (USA).
Oral 1: Anthony J. Anderson, NWS-Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center, USA: “Developments in Water Supply Forecasting: Combining New Methods and Existing Models”
Oral 2: Sunghee Kim, The University of Texas at Arlington, USA: “Data Assimilation for Operational Watershed Water Quality Forecasting at the National Institute of Environmental Research in Korea”
Oral 3: Changmin Shin, National Institute of Environmental Research, Korea: “Operational Water Quality Forecasting Using Ensemble Data Assimilation for EFDC and HSPF Model”