Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Floods: European research for better predictions and management solutions

13.10.2003


Floods are one of Europe’s most widespread disasters. Major flooding has occurred nearly every year somewhere on our continent during the last few decades. Today, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin is visiting the city of Dresden (Germany), which was hit very hard last year by one of the worst flood catastrophes to occur in Central Europe since the Middle Ages. During this visit, the European Commission has organised a media briefing at Dresden’s Ständehaus to present the results of some major research projects on floods, looking into better ways of preventing, predicting, mitigating and managing these catastrophes.



For the period 1980-2002, the greatest number of floods occurred in France (22 %), Italy (17 %) and the UK (12 %). The highest number of fatalities occurred in Italy (38 %), followed by Spain (20 %) and France (17 %). The greatest economic losses occurred in Germany and Italy (both €11 billion), followed by Spain and the UK (both around €6 billion). In the last decade, the EU has launched around 50 research projects in this field, with a total budget of €58 million, in areas such as flood risk assessment, flood hazard and risk mapping, flood forecasting and preventative land-use planning. The Commission is currently developing a European Flood Alert System (EFAS).

"Scientific studies are providing evidence that extreme flood events are becoming increasingly common and severe," says Commissioner Busquin, ”and more frequent and more intense phenomena, such as the Central European floods of last year and the droughts of this summer season, are to be expected. Such extreme events are bound to affect the economy and the lives of Euro-pean citizens. We have to act jointly, on the European, national, regional and local levels, to prevent and mitigate future flood damage. We must learn to live with floods, and thus must think and act more preventively in order to mitigate their consequences. More research is necessary to enhance our flood management and early warning capabilities.”


European research to cope with European floods

Floods are a true European problem, which do not stop at administrative borders, and cause important social, environmental and economic losses in most EU member states and Accession countries.

Europe has been supporting research on floods since the late 1980s. Approximately 50 multinational projects related to flood research have been carried out with a Commission con-tribution of around €58 million.

But why are floods increasing?

Some scientists argue that climate change is to blame, while others claim that Europe is more exposed and vulnerable to an increased flood risk. As in most scientific disciplines, there are numerous interconnected and multi-dimensional factors at play, such as weather, climate, hydrology, land-use, structural flood-defence measures, flood-risk awareness and preparedness, and capabilities for flood management, warning and information. To assess flood risk properly, all those factors must be taken into account in European research projects.

The Commission media briefing in Dresden is presenting the research results of four European projects in the field of flooding.

*Studying past floods
The SPHERE project (http://www.ccma.csic.es/dpts/suelos/hidro/sphere) provides informa-tion on past floods that occurred up to 10 000 years ago. Based on the SPHERE database, the design of high-risk structures, such as dams, bridges and power plants, can be improved due to better calculation of flood risks. Studying the past gives valuable hints about the present, and the future.

*Integrated river basin management
The EUROTAS project (http://www.hrwallingford.co.uk/projects/EUROTAS): major floods can not be prevented or controlled but need to be managed across bor-ders, based on integrated, river-basin-management strategies for flood preven-tion and miti-gation. EUROTAS was very successful in helping to mitigate the damages of last year’s floods in the city of Prague.

*Exploiting satellite data
EURAINSAT (http://www.isac.cnr.it/~eurainsat) explained how different satellite data based on the most advanced technology can be combined to support improved rain-fall pre-dictions, necessary to better forecast floods. This is a European contribu-tion to a worldwide global initiative, the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM).

*More credible flood forecasts
MUSIC (http://www.geomin.unibo.it/orgv/hydro/music) discussed how the credibil-ity of flood fore-casts could be improved through model improvements, quantification of fore-cast uncertainties and user training. This research will provide higher quality, more effective flood forecasting and warning.

Julia Acevedo | alfa
Further information:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/press_en.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The disappearance of common species
01.02.2018 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>