The Mekong River Commission (MRC) uses satellite rainfall estimates (SRE) provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for their operational flood forecasts. The satellite rainfall estimates are based on a combination of passive microwave and thermal infra-red sensors from different satellites and are scaled using a limited number of observation from meteorological stations. Earlier analysis showed that the SRE underestimates rainfall and in particular extreme rainfall.
Dr. W.W. Immerzeel from FutureWater was contracted by the MRC to analyze the quality of the NOAA SRE during the flood seasons of 2008 and 2009 and to develop and implement a bias correction algorithm using a dense network of local rainfall observation. Two different approaches were implemented and these are currently being integrated in the operational flood forecasting system operated by the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.