Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inundated with the right information to protect against floods

17.05.2004


The floods of 1997 and 2002 devastated much of Europe. But can we learn and be better prepared to cope with future extreme weather? The IST project OSIRIS has developed some practical solutions to help address the challenge.



The so-called ’Flood of the Century’ in 1997, caused havoc the length of the Oder valley, flooding swathes of land in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The death toll was 55; the cost of damages estimated at some 3.5 billion euro; and the human cost, in terms of the trauma and loss of property and possessions, unquantifiable.

Some five years later, intense rainfall and violent storms caused another equally, if not more, devastating floods across vast areas of southern and eastern Europe, in particular in the Elbe river basin.


Three pilots in two river basins

The OSIRIS project responded by targeting citizens, enterprises, local authorities and emergency centres located in three pilot sites of two river basins: the Loire and the Oder. Their objectives: to raise awareness of the risks and involving citizens in prevention measures; to prepare effective protection and rescue strategies before, during and after a flood; and to improve access to, and quality of, information.

Various different approaches to reaching these goals were tried and tested. These ranged from information portals, more appropriate for larger river basins, where flooding can be forecasted and anticipated with 2-3 days time lag, to a local flood warning system which included a phone alert system. Such localised systems are necessary for smaller basins where flash floods that can be only be anticipated by a few hours occur.

By the time the project ended in March 2003, end-users were sufficiently convinced of the value of OSIRIS results to continue investing in their development and application. "We’ve been fortunate to have end-users in the partnership who have been really committed to the post-project phase," says Marc Erlich project coordinator within SOGREAH Consultants, an independent engineering consultancy with 800 environment and water specialists.

Etablissement Public Loire representing local authorities at all levels from the whole Loire basin, for example, is currently working on the industrialisation of two prototypes developed by the OSIRIS project. The first is a decision-support system to help local mayors prepare emergency action plans in the event of a flood. The tool is based on an open source solution, so that it can be easily adapted to other user environments.

The second is a Web-based information portal, adapting the OSIRIS prototype already developed for Klodzko district in the upper Odra (Poland), to the Loire valley. The portal ’Great Water’, now implemented on nationally by the French Institute of Meteorology and Water Management aims to raise awareness of flood risks and preventative measures and create networks of different interest groups.

"During the 1997 flood in Poland whole communities became isolated and had no access to information," says Erlich. "This portal enables networks of citizens, schools, teachers or NGOs, to communicate and exchange information on risk prevention measures."

Virtual bridges across national boundaries to manage floods

Another OSIRIS prototype attracting a lot of interest is the Web-oriented system providing information on current and forecasted water levels along the Oder valley.

The involved crisis management stakeholders in Frankfurt-am-Oder have to cope with heterogeneous information resources with a variety of proprietary formats. The demonstrator allows access to primary and secondary information resources via the Internet. It supports the typical decentralised organisation of involved organisations and authorities tackling with crises in a federal country such as Germany. Transboundary collaboration with Polish partner city Slubice on the opposite bank of the river Oder is operational and has to be strengthened through the mutual exchange of information and resources. The demonstrator architecture is document-oriented to avoid the central administration of databases, given the limited resources and staff with ICT experience within the crisis management organisation.

Users can access relevant information through an interactive map showing relevant flood prone areas situated on Polish and German sides of the river. Two information access terminals, on both river banks were implemented. "This is the first step in order to provide integrated information on a transboundary river basin," says Erlich. "It could be used as a useful model for many other rivers that cross national boundaries."

Tara Morris | IST Results
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=articleID=65090

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>