SATELLITE information can be used to provide an early warning of river flooding months in advance, a study has shown.

Scientists in the US examined data captured by a pair of hi-tech gravity-sensing satellites before the catastrophic Missouri river floods of 2011.

The Grace (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites provided information about all sources of river basin wetness, including surface and ground water, snow, and soil moisture.

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Researchers found the Grace data would have allowed them to predict the likelihood of the river bursting its banks five to 11 months before the flood happened.

Conventional field measurements of snow water and soil moisture were only useful indicators up to two months in advance of a flood.