In the Lower Mekong River Basin floodplains, rice cultivation is highly crucial for regional and global food security. However, prolonged flooding can pose damage to rice cultivation and other socio-economic aspects. Yet there is no rapid operational inundation forecasting system that can help decision-makers proactively mitigate flood damages.
Here, we integrated the so-called Forecasting Inundation Extents using Rotated empirical orthogonal function analysis (FIER) framework with an altimetry-based operational Mekong River level forecasting system and built an operational web application, FIER-Mekong that generates daily skillful forecasted inundation extents (>70% of critical success index) and depths in about 3 and 30 s, respectively, with up to 18-day lead times.
One of its applications, predicting flood-induced rice economic losses, is also presented. Had FIER-Mekong being adopted, we estimated that the rice damages, up to USD 87 and 53 million during the 2020 and 2021 harvest time, respectively, could have been avoided.