Ongoing research project | 2011 to 2020
Strengthening Europe’s response to natural disasters
Floods are among the costliest natural disasters in Europe. Recognising the importance of concerted action to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, the European Commission started to develop a flood forecasting system. The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) became operational in 2012 and several European organisations are now responsible for producing and providing the flood information.
The European Flood Awareness System
EFAS helps to protect European citizens, the environment, property and cultural heritage when major floods occur. It has been 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. It provides pan-European overview maps of flood probabilities up to 15 days in advance, seasonal streamflow outlooks up to 4 months ahead, and flash-flood risk. In addition, detailed forecasts are also available at stations where the national services are providing real-time data. More than 70 hydrological services and civil protection services in Europe are part of the EFAS network.
- Added-value early flood forecasting products for hydrological services
- Unique overviews of current and forecast floods in Europe more than 3 days in advance
- A European network of operational hydrological services
ECMWF’s role in EFAS
- EFAS uses ensemble forecasts from ECMWF.
- ECMWF runs the EFAS Computational centre, the heart of data processing and model calculations. It also hosts the web interface for the EFAS Information System.
Since 2011, EFAS has been part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS). Several centres, run by European organisations, are responsible for producing and providing the flood information:
- EFAS Hydrological data collection centre - REDIAM and SOOLOGIC
Collects historic and real-time discharge and water-level data
- EFAS Meteorological data collection centre - DWD and KISTERS
Collects historic and real-time meteorological data
- EFAS Computational centre - European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Responsible for running the forecasts, post-processing, and hosting the EFAS information system platform
- EFAS 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 through research and development.
EFAS is funded by Copernicus (Contract No. 387425 and 198702).