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Towards a European Coastal Flood Awareness System

In January 2021, Mercator Ocean International joined forces with seven other European organisations to develop a proof-of-concept for a European Coastal Flood Awareness System (ECFAS). ECFAS will provide a much-needed solution to strengthen coastal resilience to climate risk and lessen the exposure of people and assets by monitoring and supporting coastal flood preparedness. By demonstrating the feasibility of a flood awareness system for European coastal zones, ECFAS could ultimately contribute to the evolution of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, and complement the existing framework for large trans-national river systems (EFAS).

In Europe, more than 50 million people are estimated to live in the low-elevation coast zone and 30 million in the 100-year event coastal plain (Neumann et al., 2015). The rapid emergence of tools and algorithms able to process and extract information from Earth observations provides an enormous potential to monitor coastal flooding. The ECFAS project will develop innovative solutions to provide rapid mapping of forecasted flooding and will benefit from the integration of space research with other non-space domains, such as coastal risk assessment and sea level modelling. ECFAS will implement an awareness system for coastal areas and impact assessment products, vital for effective recovery and prevention actions. Through a series of test cases, the project will exploit existing catalogues of data products from Copernicus Emergency Management, Marine and Land Monitoring Services, and integrate information derived from relevant European-funded projects.

MOi, who has been implementing the Copernicus Marine Service since 2014, will bring in its vast experience in ocean reanalysis, monitoring and forecasting to provide marine forcing for the coastal flood model based on products from Copernicus Marine. MOi will also contribute to the assessment of the accuracy of modelled coastal sea level depending on the level of complexity of the numerical model used, in selected test cases for past-events, as well as in forecasting mode.

ECFAS consortium

The ECFAS Proof-of-Concept development will run from January 2021 to December 2022. The ECFAS project is a collaboration between Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori IUSS di Pavia (Italy, ECFAS Coordinator), Mercator Ocean International (France), Planetek Hellas (Greece), Collecte Localisation Satellites (France), Consorzio Futuro in Ricerca (Italy), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain), University of the Aegean (Greece), and EurOcean (Portugal). The project is funded by the European Union’s H2020 Framework Programme under the call LC-SPACE-18-EO-2020 – Copernicus evolution: research activities in support of the evolution of the Copernicus services.


Neumann B, Vafeidis AT, Zimmermann J, Nicholls RJ (2015) Future Coastal Population Growth and Exposure to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding – A Global Assessment. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118571

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