The Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), implemented by Mercator Ocean International on behalf of the European Commission, has highlighted how its expertise in ocean forecasting and modelling is contributing to the development of the new European Coastal Flood Awareness System (ECFAS).
Along with the existing Copernicus Marine catalogues of ocean data products, coastal sea level forecasts based on CMEMS’s ocean and wave forecasting systems will help ECFAS evaluate the risk of coastal flooding.
ECFAS is a pilot project launched by an eight-partner consortium in January 2021, which aims to demonstrate the technical and operational feasibility of a coastal flood awareness system for European coastal zones. Funded by the European Union, ECFAS could become a candidate to join the Copernicus suite of services, in particular, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS).
Copernicus Marine data products on sea level and wave patterns are derived from computer models based on in-situ and satellite observations and will aid ECFAS in providing crucial information to support coastal resilience to flooding. ECFAS will offer a fully integrated risk cycle monitoring service including information for a preparedness phase before a potential flood, as well as impact assessment in the response phase after the flood event has occurred. This information is fundamental for relevant industries and governments to prepare and prevent coastal flooding related damages.
Quality assured data from the Copernicus Marine Service, specifically the coastal sea level forecasts based on Copernicus Marine ocean and wave forecasting systems, will greatly contribute to the modelling and forecasting of coastal floods. Through a series of test cases and using data catalogues from Copernicus and other partners, ECFAS will modify the existing data for applications in the European coastal zone. By combining material from the Copernicus Marine Service, as well as the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) and inputs from other relevant European-funded projects, the ECFAS project could greatly advance the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) supported by the Copernicus Emergency Service (CEMS).
The further development of ECFAS will also provide a “Proof of Concept” that demonstrates the practicality and suitability of coastal flood awareness systems. A functioning system can support mitigating consequences of climate risk and reduce population and industry exposure by monitoring and supporting disaster preparedness, factors that are fundamental in damage prevention and recovery of coastal and related areas.
Angélique Melet, from the Copernicus Marine Service said, “As we experience increasingly more frequent and intense effects of climate change on our oceans and coastal areas, it is more important now than ever to have the tools to adapt and plan for sustainable solutions and response strategies.
“Our main objective is to provide reliable and quality-assured data for our users but also to support joint projects like ECFAS that widely benefit citizens as well as coastal communities and their economies. We are excited to see the possibilities and the innovative solutions that our data, along with the contributions of the consortium, will bring and what impact they will have on the offers of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.”