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 Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms
17.09.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Study: We need more realistic experiments on the impact of climate change on ecosystems
16.09.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

Im Focus: The working of a molecular string phone

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.

This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.

Im Focus: Milestones on the Way to the Nuclear Clock

Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.

If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

AI for Laser Technology Conference: optimizing the use of lasers with artificial intelligence

29.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stroke patients relearning how to walk with peculiar shoe

18.09.2019 | Innovative Products

Statistical inference to mimic the operating manner of highly-experienced crystallographer

18.09.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists' design discovery doubles conductivity of indium oxide transparent coatings

18.09.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>