Better flood forecasting could save lives in Bangladesh.
© AP/Abu Taher Khokon
With a weather monitoring network a new model could predict coastal floods in Bangladesh.
A new model should help forecast the massive floods to which the northern coast of Bangladesh is prone1. In principle, the model can predict the heights and arrival times of the huge waves that cyclones cause, and so could improve the planning of sea defences.
The effectiveness of the model will depend on the availability of accurate, timely and detailed meteorological data, cautions Bangladeshi scientist Junaid Amin As-Salek. He has spent six years in Japan with Takashi Yasuda of Gifu University developing the mathematical picture of the interactions between Bangladesh’s ocean, atmosphere and shoreline.
Gathering input data remains a formidable challenge. The technology for a weather-monitoring network exists, says As-Salek, who is now at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Michigan, USA. But a shortage of funding hampers its use in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s coast is in constant danger of devastating floods. Tropical hurricanes in the Indian Ocean move towards the coast, pushing a wall of water ahead of them. This creates a great wave called a storm surge, which can reach 12 meters high. In 1970, a five-metre wave flooded a million acres of rice fields, killing at least 200,000 people. More than 100,000 further lives were lost this way in 1991.
The country is densely populated and lacks the resources to erect defences or carry out evacuations. Also, the land is so low that even flood waves a couple of metres high can have terrible consequences.
A coastal wave can have different effects at different times and places, making flooding hard to predict. As-Salek and Yasuda focused on the estuary of the Meghna River in the north of the Bay of Bengal - the region generally hit hardest by storm surges.
Their model provides a framework for predicting specific floods. It takes into account how coastal winds, the shape of the estuary, and the ebb and flow of the local tides affect a storm surge. A surge that coincides with a high tide, for example, is much more destructive. The estuary can also have a funnelling effect that accentuates flooding, As-Salek says.
The model could also help in planning permanent sea defences. At present, defences in Bangladesh are "very scattered and inadequate", says As-Salek who feels they were not based on scientific predictions.
Coastal engineering relies on estimates of the ’design cyclone’: the hypothetical hurricane that generates the flood wave with the largest water volume at a particular point. As-Salek hopes his model will help make these calculations, putting sea defences on a rational footing. Whether sufficient resources will be available to implement such planning is another matter.
Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
26.05.2017 | Oregon State University
Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy