Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pan-European Flood Alert System (EFAS)

01.09.2004


The Directors of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC)signed a Cooperation Agreement providing the JRC with real-time access to ECMWF weather forecast products for use in the European Flood Alert System (EFAS). Both organisations will work together to develop a system for early flood warnings up to 10 days in advance. An increased warning time could help to avoid casualties and reduce flood damages.



Every year, on average, 100 European citizens die in floods. Over the period 1998 - 2002 alone, 100 major floods comprised 43% of all disaster events, causing 700 fatalities, the displacement of about half a million people, and at least 25 billion Euro in insured economic losses. In the near future, flood magnitude and flood frequency may even increase in certain regions in Europe, as predicted in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

EU action on floods


The increasing number of natural disasters, from floods, landslides and earthquakes to forest fires, has made it clear to the European Commission and Member States that effective advance action is needed to protect the environment and citizen. On 12 July, 2004, the European Commission proposed concerted EU action on flood risk management and flood prevention to improve protection against flooding.

Enhanced cooperation and planning between the European Commission (JRC, DG Environment, DG Enterprise), ECMWF, EU Member States and Accession countries is now allowing the development of measures that can be applied trans-nationally for better preparedness for oncoming flood events. Advances in weather forecasting, flood prediction models, automated data gathering from measurement stations, rainfall radars, and information technologies can now be combined to increase the flood warning time and information level for large trans-national river catchments. Following the dramatic Elbe and Danube floods of August 2002, the European Commission and European Parliament reinforced their support for the development of a European Flood Alert System, already in development at the JRC since 2000.

European Flood Alert System (EFAS)

The JRC is currently testing and refining the pan-European Flood Alert System. The aim is to provide national water and civic authorities with an early warning capability for a developing flood disaster and greater knowledge about its likely extent and development over time. Based on the computer model LISFLOOD, combining both medium-range weather forecasts from ECMWF and hydrological data from water authorities, this system will simulate the flow in many large European rivers with a lead-time of three to ten days. This will allow more time for appropriate action to prevent human casualties and reduce material losses. The system has a particular focus on large, trans-boundary river basins.

The added value of cooperation between ECMWF and the JRC
Joint research by JRC and ECMWF has already demonstrated that, for example, the large floods on the Meuse/Rhine (1993 & 1995) and Po (1994 & 2000) rivers could have been forecasted several days earlier if a system like EFAS had been available.

The new agreement will give the JRC greater access to the medium-range weather forecasts of ECMWF. The Ensemble Prediction System of ECMWF will supply 50 different 10-day forecast scenarios twice per day. These will be used to simulate river flow scenarios. It is anticipated that this System will be able to more accurately predict the risk of floods in most large European rivers from three to ten days. This will increase its usefulness to national and regional water authorities in alerting responsible staff, increasing the local flood forecasting frequency, rescheduling working shifts, and double-checking those systems and procedures involved in crisis management etc. This timely information will also improve the speed and the effectiveness of civil protection response coordinated by the Civil Protection Monitoring and Information Centre of DG Environment in conjunction with national authorities.

Next steps

The JRC, in close cooperation with ECMWF, will further develop EFAS to a mature stage. Thereafter, it will be transferred to appropriate operational services, for example, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. The JRC and ECMWF have already collaborated successfully in the past, for instance in the domain of forest fires. This cooperation is planned to be extended to other areas, including crop forecasting and air quality.

Further information:
Aidan Gilligan, Media Officer, JRC Public Relations Unit; Tel: 00 32 (0)2 2986482; Fax: 00 32 (0)2 2996322; Email: aidan.gilligan@cec.eu.int

Aidan Gilligan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.jrc.org
http://natural-hazards.jrc.it/floods
http://www.ecmwf.int

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>