European Flood Alert System (EFAS)
Following the disastrous floods in the Elbe and Danube river basins in August 2002, the European Commission announced the development of a European Flood Alert System (EFAS). EFAS will provide medium-range flood simulations across Europe with a lead-time between 3 to 15 days.EFAS will provide the European Commission with overview information, which is comparable across Europe, for the preparation and management of aid during a flood crisis. The national hydrological services and water authorities will benefit from the additional medium-range flood information that will contribute to increased preparedness for future flood events. EFAS is aimed at complementing national flood forecasting systems, not replacing them.
Since the beginning of this project EFAS has evolved to a state-of-the-art flood forecasting system with several pioneering products, such as probabilistic flood forecasting and novel analysis and communication methods used for interpretation of multiple forecasts. The prototype has matured from a research project to a pre-operational system providing national water authorities with information on probabilities of early flood warnings, 24 hours per day and 365 days per year.
More information can be found on the EFAS webpages.
GEOSS interoperability for Weather, Ocean and Wate (GEOWOW)
GEOWOW is a project, co-funded under the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no. 282915 in response to call ENV.2011.4.1.3-1 "Interoperable integration of Shared Earth Observations in the Global Context".
Work Package 4 (WP4), led by ECMWF, addresses the elements of the GEO Capacity Building Strategy by improving the access to THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) data. TIGGE is GEO task WE-01-C1 "Global Multi-model Prediction System for High-impact Weather". WP4 also includes the development and demonstration of products using TIGGE data in collaboration with users in developing countries, including the provision of education and training. WP4 is also closely related to the WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (SWFDP) which focuses on improving the use of weather forecast data by decision makers in developing and least developed countries. SWFDP provides a natural multidisciplinary framework for demonstration of the use of TIGGE data.
Additional details on the project are provided in the GEWOW website.
The extreme consequences of recent catastrophic events have highlighted that risk prevention still needs to be improved to reduce human losses and economic damages. The KULTURisk project aims at developing a culture of risk prevention by means of a comprehensive demonstration of the benefits of prevention measures. The development of a culture of risk prevention requires the improvement of our: a) memory and knowledge of past disasters; b) communication and understanding capacity of current and future hazards; c) awareness of risk and d) preparedness for future events. In order to demonstrate the advantages of prevention options, an original methodology will be developed, applied and validated using specific European case studies, including transboundary areas. The benefits of state-of-the-art prevention measures, such as early warning systems, non-structural options (e.g. mapping and planning), risk transfer strategies (e.g. insurance policy), and structural initiatives, will be demonstrated. In particular, the importance of homogenising criteria to create hazard inventories and build memory, efficient risk communication and warning methods as well as active dialogue with and between public and private stakeholders, will be highlighted. Furthermore, the outcomes of the project will be used to efficiently educate the public and train professionals in risk prevention. KULTURisk will first focus on water-related hazards as the likelihood and adverse impacts of water-related catastrophes might increase in the near future because of land-use and/or climate changes. In particular, a variety of case studies characterised by diverse socio-economic contexts, different types of water-related hazards (floods, debris flows and landslides, storm surges) and space-time scales will be utilised. Finally, the applicability of the KULTURisk approach to different types of natural hazards (e.g. earthquakes, forest fires) will also be analysed.
More information can be found on the KULTURisk webpages.
Improved Drought Early Warning and FORecasting to strengthen preparedness and adaptation to droughts in Africa (DEWFORA)
The principal aim of the DEWFORA proposal is to develop a framework for the provision of early warning and response to mitigate the impact of droughts in Africa. The proposal has been built to achive three key targets:
1. Improved monitoring: by improving knowledge on drought forecasting, warning and mitigation, and advancing
the understanding of climate related vulnerability to drought – both in the current and in the projected future
To achieve these targets, the DEWFORA consortium brings together leading research institutes and universities;
institutes that excel in application of state-of-the-art science in the operational domain; operational agencies
responsible for meteorological forecasting, drought monitoring and famine warning; and established knowledge
networks in Africa. The consortium provides an excellent regional balance, and the skilled coordinator and
several partners have worked together in (European) research projects, implementation projects and capacity
building programmes, thus building efficiently on previous and ongoing projects in Europe and Africa.
More information can be found on the -more details soon-.
Impacts of land use and water resources management on hydrological processes under varying climatic conditions (LUWR)
LUWR is an international research project aimed at analysing the impacts of historical, current and future changes in climate variability, land use and water management on hydrological processes, for the purpose of mitigation of present and future risks to the public and ecosystems from extreme events (droughts and floods).
The difficulty of separating the different causes of changes in the hydrological regime results from
To tackle the complexity of land - surface hydrological interactions, we apply mapping from the parameter space of models of hydrological processes on to external forcing (an inverse problem). In other words, we want to focus on detecting changes in a data-based hydrological process description and relating them to changes in meteorological processes and other external forcing factors, such as changes in water management practices or land use.
More information can be found on the LUWR website.
THEPS is a project which integrates the HEPEX project within the THORPEX project. A project proposal was endorsed at the Special Topics Workshop on Downscaling of Atmospheric Forecasts for Hydrologic Prediction, June 15-18, 2009, Toulouse, France . [project proposal]
HEPEX is an international research and development program aimed at the development of advanced hydrologic forecast systems capable of quantifying state dependent uncertainty. Since weather forecasts are such a strong driver in hydrologic forecasting, and because of the great societal implications of hydrologic predictions, HEPEX is an ideal partner for the THORPEX program in a very important area of weather forecast applications. A hydrologic component, the THORPEX/HEPEX Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction System (THEPS) is proposed as a joint THORPEX/HEPEX collaborative activity within the THORPEX project. This project would have 3 goals:
Hydrological applications range across scales from catchments of less than a few km2 to continental scale. It can integrate responses over a range of variables (for example precipitation, evaporation, temperature, radiation etc) as well as across spatial and temporal scale. Hydrological systems act often as a low pass non-linear filter of atmospheric drivers. As such it can for example allow to assess predictive skill at all forecast ranges, including potential predictability of many near surface variables on a large range of scales. These scales are meaningful integrators of point observations and thus allow a suitable comparison to model predictions. Additionally, hydrology can act as a diagnostic to quantify the contributions of initial condition and model uncertainty to forecast errors or investigate the relative effects of small and large-scale initial-condition uncertainty and as such develop improved global ensemble-prediction systems. For example, many hydrological regimes can be sensitive to initial conditions and evaluate the signal of changing configurations. Additionally, hydrological models are already part of many meteorological models in the form of land surface schemes. HEPEX can act as a communication platform between the traditional small scale hydrological community and the large scale hydrologists.
Scientific issues associated with THORPEX-HEPEX collaboration include:
We will provide a practical and transparent support framework to guide the use of probabalistic flood forecasts operationally. Specifically we will develop and test a number of approaches and methods for: making transparent decisions based on probabalistic forecasts; assessing benefits of probabalistic forecasts; and assessing the accuracy of probabalistic forecasts through defining appropriate performance measures. To support uptake of the range of new capabilities we will provide practical guidance and training materials to use.
What did the project deliver?
A set of reports have been produced which illustrate how probabilistic flood forecasts could be used to help decide on whether to take action when a flood is forecast. The information is mainly aimed at professionals and decision makers responsible for forecasting and responding to the risk of flooding. Flood forecasts are uncertain. Unlike conventional, deterministic forecasts, probabilistic flood forecasts try to quantify and represent this uncertainty to enable longer forecasting and warning lead times and support risk and impact based decision making. They also help us to better understand the range of possible outcomes so we can better communicate the potential impacts on the ground. However, the additional information provided by probabilistic forecasts raises important questions, such as:
· "What action should be taken when some of forecasts predict flooding, while others do not?"
· "How can we best use probabilistic information to inform operational decisions which often require clear choices (e.g. whether to operate certain structures or not)"
This R&D project provided underpinning evidence, illustrative approaches and case studies to highlight how probabilistic forecasts could potentially be used to aid decision making in Flood Incident Management in future. Our work confirmed that decision making during flood events is influenced by many factors ranging from 'hard' evidence (forecasts, observations and data) to important 'softer' factors such as local knowledge, recent flood history and forecast performance and current risk appetite. It highlighted that decision making during incidents is a dynamic process which can and should vary depending on the specific situation.
How can I use this Research?
To account for this, this research developed a flexible, yet simple framework to aid decision making with probabilistic forecasts which allows taking account of softer factors. It includes a number of possible methods (proof of concept stage), from the very simple to more complex, illustrated through practical case studies. The report and illustrative guide explain how these methods could be applied in principle to a variety of forecasting situations of different complexity and at varying lead times ahead of a potential flood. The research makes an important contribution to our evidence base and provides a valuable resource to practitioners and researchers alike. It will help inform the future direction of probabilistic flood forecasting as part wider developments in flood incident management. It is important to note that decision making with probabilistic information is an active research and development area and we expect novel approaches to become available over time. The proof of concept approaches described here should therefore be seen more as illustrations how probabilistic flood forecasts could be potentially used to support decision making and not as fixed and definitive operational procedures to be followed.
A collaborative project aimed at pre-validation of a GMES Global Water Scarcity Information Service (GLOWASIS)
project completed 03/2013
The main objective of the proposed project GLOWASIS is to pre-validate a GMES Global Service for Water Scarcity Information. In European and global pilots on the scale of river catchments, it will combine in-situ and satellite derived water cycle information and more government ruled statistical water demand data in order to create an information portal on water scarcity. This portal will be made interoperable with the WISE-RTD portal. More awareness for the complexity of the water scarcity problem will be created and additional capabilities of satellite-measured water cycle parameters can be promoted, but also directly matched to user requirements. By creating the user-scientist community, GLOWASIS will guide earth observation scientists to efficient innovation for the specific purpose of water scarcity assessment and forecasting. By linking water demand and supply in three pilot studies with existing systems (EDO and PCR-GLOBWB) for medium- and long-term forecasting in Europe, Africa and worldwide, GLOWASIS' information will contribute both in near-real time reporting for emerging drought events as well as in provision of climate change time series. By combining complex water cycle variables, governmental issues and economic relations with respect to water demand, GLOWASIS will aim for the needed streamlining of the wide variety of important water scarcity information. Infrastructure is set up for dissemination and inclusion of current and future innovative and integrated multi-purpose products for research & operational applications. The service will use data from GMES Core Services LMCS Geoland2 and Marine Core Service MyOcean (e.g. land use, soil moisture, soil sealing, sea level), in-situ data from GEWEX' initiatives (i.e. International Soil Moisture network), agricultural and industrial water use and demand (statistical – AQUASTAT, SEEAW and modelled) and additional water-cycle information from existing global satellite services.
More information can be found on the GLOWASIS webpages (soon).
project completed 12/2010
In the frame of GMES initiative (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), SAFER project aims at implementing preoperational versions of the Emergency Response Core Service.
SAFER will reinforce European capacity to respond to emergency situations: fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, humanitarian crisis. ECMWF is involved in WP3011 Flood Early-Warning systems lead by the Ad de Roo (Action leader of the European Flood Alert System, JRC, European Comission). The proposed scope of this WP is the integration of the lessons learned within Preview (or other projects) to consolidate the EFAS system.
More information on the project can be found on the SAFER website.
Novel Early flood Warning and Risk Assessment System (NEWS)
project completed 12/2010
Current conventional flood prediction systems in China are neither suited to the perceptible climate variability nor the rapid pace of urbanization sweeping the country. The entire spectrum of flood prediction from short-term (a few hours), medium-term (a few days) to long-term (a number of years) needs to be revisited and adapted to the changing socio-economical and hydro-climatic conditions. The latter is true for the UK, China and many other countries in the world. The latest technology requires implementation of multiple numerical weather/climate prediction systems. The availability of twelve global ensemble weather prediction systems through the THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) offers a good opportunity for an effective state-of-the-art early forecasting system.
More information can be found on the NEWS website.
Uncertainty Assessments of Flood Inundation Impacts: Using spatial climate change scenarios to drive an Ensemble of Distributed Models for Extreme Conditions
project completed 07/2010
This project aims to improve estimates of flood inudation hazard by propagating uncertainties from Regional Climate Model precipitation projections into an ensemble of flood inundation predictions for large basin scales. The project team will use a cascade of distributed climate, rainfall-runoff and flood inundation models to:
1. Quantify the top-end uncertainties by assessing extreme precipitation fields produced using two contrasting approaches.
More information can be found on the Project website.
Hydrological and Meteorological Datenassimilation (HyMedDas)
Spring school in Bad Schandau, 25. - 30. April 2010
Deviations between model integrations and observations are a common in geosciences. What lessons do we learn from these discrepancies? Various disciplines have found different answers: Hydrologists will tend to adapt parameters and model formulations whereas meteorologists will update the initial state. This spring school brings together this complementary expertise to exchange methods and to foster novel comprehensive approaches.
More information can be found on the HyMedDas website
project completed 12/2008
The main scientific objective of this 6th Framework project of the European Union is to evaluate the added value of medium-range flood forecasting to allow for reliable extended warning times as compared to short-term forecasting. One of the projects scientific objectives is to evaluate statistically the relative merits of the high-resolution atmospheric models and larger size ensembles atmospheric models at lower resolutions to drive hydrological models in view of producing probabilistic flood forecasts.
Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC)
left project 10/2006
This interdisciplinary research Consortium focuses on some of the more recently identified strategic research investigating the prediction and management of flood risk and is the primary UK academic response to this challenge. It has been formulated to address key issues in flood science and engineering and the portfolio of research includes the short-term delivery of tools and techniques to support more accurate flood forecasting and warning, improvements to flood management infrastructure and reduction of flood risk to people, property and the environment. A particular feature of the 2nd phase is the concerted effort to focus on coastal and urban flooding. In addition, the Consortium continues to provide internationally leading research in the area of Land Use Management in the context of the generation of floods during extreme rainfall.
More information can be found on the FRMRC website.
European Flood Forecasting System (EFFS)
project completed 12/2002
The EFFS project aims at developing a prototype of an European flood forecasting system for 4-10 days in advance. This system provides daily information on potential floods for large rivers such as the rivers Rhine and Oder as well as flash floods in small basins. This flood forecasting system can be used as a pre-warning system to water-authorities that already have a 0-3 day forecasting system. The system can also provide flood warnings for catchments that at present do not have a forecasting system (Eastern-European countries). The framework of the system will allow incorporation of both detailed models for specific basins as well as a broad scale model for entire Europe. Once designed, the prototype will be tested and evaluated for several months. Together with end-users, channels to disseminate the forecasts and their uncertainties will be developed. The main objectives of this project are: