Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Intelligent sensors gear up for real-time flood monitoring

19.10.2006
An intelligent flood monitoring system that could give advance warning of the type of rapid flood that engulfed the UK Cornish village of Boscastle in 2004, is under test in the Yorkshire Dales. Danny Hughes, Phil Greenwood and colleagues from Lancaster University won an award for their paper describing the system at the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting in Nottingham last month.

The system, which makes use of grid computing, could reduce the cost of flood damage by providing warnings of local flooding in time for people to take pre-emptive action. Most current systems issue general warnings over large areas because they rely on sparsely-distributed sensors which send information to a central point for analysis. The new system, which is based on a network of intelligent sensors that can be placed in flood-prone sites, promises rapid, low-cost warnings specific to these sites.

Professor Paul Watson, from Newcastle University who chaired the AHM programme committee said: "we were impressed with the way in which the UK e-Science Programme has encouraged the formation of a multi-disciplinary team to address an interesting problem of great practical importance to the population as a whole; flooding is a major concern in the UK and many other countries. By making advances in a set of scientific fields and then combining the results, the team has built a novel and interesting new system".

The system now undergoing trial in Yorkshire consists of 13 depth sensors fixed in locations across a flood plain and a digital camera which rather like a traffic speed camera, monitors flow rate from the speed of flotsam between two points. Each sensor incorporates a powerful computer, no bigger than a packet of gum, which communicates wirelessly with other sensors in the network to form a computing grid. The software that enables the sensors to operate as a grid has been developed under the UK e-Science Core Programme (Open Overlays project). The North-West Development Agency is funding the flood monitoring work.

When flood waters are rising, the sensors can change how they operate together so that the network can continue to monitor the situation even if some sensors are submerged or swept away. The sensors are also able to adjust their power consumption so batteries are conserved during dry times and power is available for increased activity during flood. "As soon as the sensors detect water coming down the valley, the network gears up," says Danny Hughes.

In order to provide flood warnings, the system makes use of flood forecasting models which were developed at Lancaster by Professor Peter Young and colleagues. The models can be run on the sensor computing grid and adjusted so that their predictions stay in line with what the sensors are recording. "An interesting possibility is to use such a local warning system to give advanced warning, even in catchments where the response to rainfall is very fast, making flood forecasting very difficult," suggests Professor Keith Beven of Lancaster who is also involved in the project. "An example was the Boscastle flood in 2004, where a general forecast of heavy rain was issued, but the event was too localised to be able to give a warning to Boscastle residents. Fortunately, nobody was killed in that event," he says.

Judy Redfearn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: 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,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

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

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>