Demands on analysis to support flood risk management decision making have grown significantly. This growth is an outcome of (1) acknowledging the uncertainty about drivers of the decisions and wanting to account for that in assessing options; (2) appreciating the necessity of decision making in a system context, considering the direct and indirect impacts of choices; and (3) demanding more information on consequences and outcomes to guide our decision making. To meet the demands, we have taken advantage of advances in information technology in innovative and creative ways, including computing in the cloud, computing with more efficient algorithms, and managing and displaying big data sets in efficient ways.
In this white paper, we describe the strategy we employed to manage the “big data, big analysis” challenge of developing flood-frequency information and typical flood hydrographs for more than 200 locations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins. We also describe strategies for applying the resulting “big information” for flood risk management alternatives analysis.