July 7, 2014 | Luke

What does gravity tell you about flooding?

According to a new study, when the ground is saturated with water it makes flooding more likely, and that extra mass also increases gravity slightly. So measure the extra gravity with satellites and you can tell ahead of time if flooding is likely.

Sadly the idea is in its early stages, so it doesn't offer early warnings yet. But with a new satellite mission planned we could eventually get about five months' early warning. Incredible!

This research was published by Nature Geoscience online on 6 July 2014.

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Currently it takes three months to download and process the data.

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Image: Flickr/Geoff Trotter

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