CORDIS - EU research results

An european flood forecasting system


Problems to be solved
National water authorities are normally able to provide flood warnings between one and four days in advance of flood events. These warnings are usually based on weather forecasts in combination with knowledge of the actual hydrologic conditions in the river basins concerned. However, the emergency civil and water management agencies would benefit from an increase in lead-time, to effectively implement their plans in downstream areas. Therefore there exists a need for improved flood forecasting to extend the flood-warning period. Improved flood forecasting should enable more effective evacuation of people from high-risk areas or the controlled release of water from reservoirs in upstream areas to create temporary retention basins to reduce flood volumes and peaks. EFFS aims at developing a prototype of a 4-10 day in advance European floods forecasting system. This system aims at providing daily information on potential floods for the large rivers Rhine and Oder as well as flash floods in small basins. The framework of the system will allow incorporation of both detailed models for specific basins as well as a broad scale for entire Europe.
Scientific objectives and approach
The overall objectives of EFFS are to employ currently available Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (4 - 10 days) to produce reliable flood warnings, beyond the current flood warning period of approximately 3 days. The project will design a Medium-Range Flood Forecasting System for Europe that will produce flood warnings on the basis of the Medium Range Weather Forecasts. On the basis of the newly developed system, flood forecasts will be produced in regions where at present flood forecasts are unavailable.
The scientific objectives include:
1) the development and application of downscaling techniques for weather forecasts that can be used in real-time operational flood warning systems over large areas,
2) the design of a framework that allows for the use of different rainfall-runoff flood models linked to the Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in order to provide Medium Range Flood Forecasts
3) the investigation of the concept of an overall water balance hydrological model as a basis for regional rainfall-runoff flood modelling.
4) the investigate of the accuracy of the flood forecasts in space and time starting off from uncertainties in Medium Range Weather Forecasts and assess the error propagation through the system
5) the finding of methods to incorporate uncertainties both from the weather forecasts as well as from the hydrologic models to be used in operational forecasts and use them as a decision factor as part of the actual flood forecast
6) the investigation and recommendations concerning methods to disseminate the forecasts to whom they might concern, and to retrieve feedback from the users.
Expected impacts
Recent developments in the art of weather forecasting have brought the needs for improved flood forecasting within reach. Currently, Medium-Range Weather Forecasts are available for periods between 4 and 10 days ahead. These forecasts, which are still hardly used for practical purposes, could prove particularly useful in providing additional valuable information to decision makers in flood-risk areas. In the present project, the reasonable extension of the forecasting period will be examined by an assessment of the accuracy as a function of lead-time, location and season, and the minimum requirements put forward by the end-users.
Weather forecasts: Data of all three events have been collected and disseminated to the project partners.
Databases: Both the hydrological and geographical databases are ready to test the forecasting system for the selected events. A real-time hydrological data supply is organised for this project.
Hydrological modelling: The LISFLOOD model is ready for flood forecasting application. A description of forecasting hydrological models has been made.
Parameter estimation: Instrument development: The Flood Forecasting System has been developed and implemented for the Rhine basin. The functional and technical design of the Flood Forecasting System is described.
Dissemination of flood forecasting results: An overview of current methods in Europe is ready.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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185,Rotterdamseweg 185

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Participants (17)