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Europeans develop better flood forecasting tools

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Friday, 09 September 2011

Europeans develop better flood forecasting tools

Keeping people safe from floods is an important objective for Europeans. Scientists at Cemagref, the French research institute of science and technology for the environment, have succeeded in developing and continue to develop forecasting tools that can warn authorities and the public about potential floods, giving vulnerable zones the crucial time they need to protect themselves. The Cemagref team has developed Government Resource Planning (GRP) software for SCHAPI, France's National Hydrometeorological and Flood Forecasting Centre, designed to forecast river flooding. The researchers say rain observations and forecasts provided by the Meteo-France network for the corresponding river basins are used in this software. Soil humidity is also a factor considered by the software. The experts have already tested the software in real time on several expansive rivers. Warnings generated by the GRP software can range from just a few hours to a few days. The length of time depends on the response time of the river basin. The GRP's forecasts are then fed into the national flood-warning system, which is accessible via the Ministère de l'écologie, du développement durable, des transports et du logement website. Scientists say quantitative forecasts of flow rates become very imprecise beyond a few days. Assessing the meteorological archives for precipitation data on past conditions similar to the forecast conditions could give forecasts a boost.

Source: European Commission