Integrating NASA Earth Systems Data into Decision-Making Tools of Member Utilities of the Florida Water and Climate Alliance


Award Dates
03/2015 – 03/2018


Project Lead: Christopher Martinez

Project Participants:  Tracy Irani, Jasmeet Judge, Karen Schlatter (University of Florida), Vasu Misra (Florida State University), Tirusew Asefa (Tampa Bay Water) and Kevin Morris (Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority)

Goals and Objectives

This project seeks to improve water allocation and storage decisions by public water utilities through the development of a real-time monitoring product and integration of high (10-km) resolution regional seasonal forecasts centered over Florida. The real-time monitoring product will use NASA Earth science products to anticipate the likelihood of early or late onsite/demise of seasons in peninsular Florida (which has very distinct wet and dry seasons). Customized dynamical seasonal climate forecasts will be provided that incorporate multiple NASA satellite- and model-based products. An extensive set of retrospective forecasts (reforecasts) from 2000-present for the winter (dry) season will be produced as part of this project. They will serve in developing robust bias correction of the forecasts, which has been previously demonstrated by the investigators to be critical for their effective use in hydrologic applications. This work is practical in that the application readiness of several components have been demonstrated in the peer-reviewed literature. This proposed work is innovative in that: 1) It has been designed and proposed by an established stakeholder-scientist partnership, 2) It will provide forecasts at a desired frequency, lead time, and resolution of derived variables that are relevant to hydrologic applications but are not currently available from operational centers, 3) It will use multiple NASA satellite and model-based products to initialize and force our dynamical forecasts, and 4) It will effectively resolve the land-ocean interaction that is known to affect the Florida peninsula. We will demonstrate the efficacy of our seasonal forecasts and integrate them into decision support tools used by Tampa Bay Water and the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority that will include:  treamflow forecasts and Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) operations. These partners, as members of the Florida Water and Climate Alliance (FloridaWCA), have demonstrated sustained and continuing interest in integrating improved forecast products into their decision making tools. The FloridaWCA is a stakeholder-scientist partnership that was initiated in 2010 on the basis of a shared interest in community building to create actionable science and this project leverages this stakeholder-scientist network to examine the efficacy of its members’ decision making processes with respect to adoption of the project’s forecasting and decision support products. Building on our previous research, multi-organizational partnerships, and multi-disciplinary scientist-stakeholder team, we believe the proposed project aligns well with the NASA Earth Science Division Applied Science Program’s interest in developing and demonstrating the use of Earth observations and related products in applied research that will be integrated into water resources management and decision-making.

Anticipated Project Outputs

  • Customized seasonal forecasts for public water utilities in Florida
  • Customized data products that could improve current seasonal source allocation (environmental and cost implications) and water shortage risk management tools.
  • Seasonal streamflow forecasts using our forecasts with higher skill compared to using lagged observations or CPC/ENSO outlook
  • Improved ASR recovery operations due to improved forecasts that are location-specific
  • Development of the next generation of talent through training in climate modeling including delivering time sensitive climate forecast products in an operational setting