International Global Flood Monitoring and Forecasting Initiative

4th workshop of the Global Flood Working Group: Joining Forces in a Global Flood Partnership

The 4th meeting of the Global Flood Working Group will be kindly hosted by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, in Reading, United Kingdom from 4 to 6 March 2014

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Global Flood Working Group

Floods impact over half a billion people every year worldwide, a number that might increase to two billion by 2050. In general, one third of humanitarian aid goes to flood related disasters. In recent years, much progress has been made in monitoring floods using satellite remote sensing and meteorological and hydrological modelling. Yet, a global flood monitoring & modelling system able to forecast, measure, map and monitor floods for rapid estimation or forecasting of the potential humanitarian and/or economical impact does not yet exist.

Therefore, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the Dartmouth Flood Observatory took the initiative to set up the Global Flood Working Group. This is an interdisciplinary research forum with the aim to advance near-real time global flood monitoring and forecasting for more effective humanitarian response. The group started in a workshop in 2011 at JRC in Ispra, Italy, and has annual gatherings.

The Global Flood Working Group consists of research groups in remote sensing, meteorology, hydrology and ICT that have a common interest in operational monitoring and forecasting of floods globally. The group recognizes that no single technology is able to provide accurate and systematic data needed by risk and response practitioners, but that an integration of available techniques is promising.

The Global Flood Working Group is currently the only international forum where global flood monitoring is dealt with in an interdisciplinary manner. Most participating organisations are running semi-operational systems on minimal research budgets, using free data sources. Yet, floods are by far the most damaging natural hazard worldwide, both in terms of affected population and, more and more, insured losses. It is one ambition of the working group to work towards more sustainable and funded solutions, and doing this by demonstrating the potential of an integrated approach to provide the right information at the right time to humanitarian and civil protection organisations.

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