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Strengthening Europe’s response to natural disasters

Floods are among the costliest natural disasters in Europe and in the world. Recognising the importance of concerted action to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, the European Commission started to develop a flood forecasting system under the umbrella of the Copernicus programme. This effort resulted in the two complementary forecasting systems being run operationally: the European and Global Flood Awareness Systems (EFAS and GloFAS), at the core of the flood Early Warning and Monitoring component of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.

The European and Global Flood Awareness Systems (EFAS and GloFAS)

EFAS and GloFAS at a glance

EFAS and GloFAS help to protect citizens of Europe and the world, the environment, property and cultural heritage when major floods occur. EFAS was the first to be released operationally (2012), developed and tested at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, in close collaboration with national hydrological and meteorological services, European civil protection agencies through the Emergency Response and Coordination Centre (ERCC), and other research institutes. In 2018, GloFAS, originally developed by ECMWF in collaboration with the JRC and the University of Reading, became fully operational after being a prototype service since 2011. 

EFAS and GloFAS provide pan-European and global overview maps of flood probabilities up to 15 days in advance (30 days for GloFAS), seasonal streamflow outlooks up to several months ahead, flood impact assessment, as well as flash-flood risk (EFAS only). In addition, detailed forecasts are also available at stations where the national services are providing river discharge data. More than 900 registered users from 70 hydrological services and civil protection services in Europe are part of the EFAS network, whilst GloFAS has over 6000 registered users.


  • Added-value early flood forecasting products for hydrological services
  • Unique overviews of current and forecast floods in Europe and the world more than 3 days in advance
  • A European and global network of operational hydrological services, emergency responders, humanitarian organisations, or anyone with interest in hydrological forecasting in the world.

ECMWF’s role in EFAS and GloFAS

  • EFAS and GloFAS use ensemble forecasts from ECMWF.
  • ECMWF runs operationally the Hydrological Forecasting Computational Centre of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, the heart of data processing and model calculations.
  • ECMWF hosts and manages the web interface for the EFAS and GloFAS Information System.
  • ECMWF operates EFAS and GloFAS associated web and data services.


Since 2011, EFAS has been part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS). Several centres, run by European organisations, are responsible for producing and providing the flood information:

  • CEMS Hydrological data collection centre - Ghenova
    Collects historic and real-time discharge and water-level data
  • CEMS Meteorological data collection centre - DWD and KISTERS
    Collects historic and real-time meteorological data
  • CEMS Hydrological Forecast Computational centre - European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
    Responsible for running the forecasts, post-processing, hosting the EFAS and GloFAS information system platform and operating the associated web and data services
  • CEMS Dissemination centre - Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute and Rijkswaterstaat (the Netherlands) 
    Analyses the results daily, assesses the situation, and sends information to the EFAS partners

The European Commission is responsible for contract management. The JRC supports EFAS and GloFAS through research and development.

More information

EFAS website

GloFAS website

EFAS and GloFAS are funded by Copernicus (Contract No. 387425 and 198702).