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Floods forecasting and warning operations enhancement by Grid technology adoption in Civil Protection organization

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
8. Capacity Building
Author(s): Vincent Thierion
Pierre-Alain Ayral
Sophie Sauvagnargues-Lesage
François Bressand
Philippe Nardin
Roberto Sorani

Keyword(s): flash flood, emergency management, GRID technology, forecasting system

AbstractSince few years, Grid computing is a technological revolution in high performance distributed computing allowing large-scale resource sharing, computational power using and supporting collaboration across networks. Presently, the most important effort, in term of Grid technology development, is performed by the EGEE (Enabling Grids for E-science in Europe) project. Already used by many scientists in Europe, the EGEE Grid platform aims to create a seamless European Grid infrastructure for the support of the European Research Area. Moreover, the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative is a highly research initiative which must provide a structure framework for data integration and information management. Civil Protection topics are included in one of the GMES service categories. For Civil Protection community the main objective of this research initiative is to improve the coordination of assistance intervention in the event of natural, technological, radiological, ecological or environmental disasters. In this context, the European project CYCLOPS has been introduced in objective of bridging the gap between Grid and Civil Protection communities. This two years project (2006-2008) is making Civil Protection community be aware of the services provided by Grid infrastructures, and, at the same time, letting Grid researcher to be aware of Civil Protection specific requirements and service enhancements needs. Hence, CYCLOPS overall objective is to define requirements of Civil Protection agencies to adapt existing Grid technology for emergency issues. Presently, it seems difficult to adopt Grid technology in the whole of Civil Protection structures. However, some specific services could really take advantage of Grid technology adoption to improve their functioning. As realistic simulations, two use-cases have been selected to study the possible reliability of Grid technology in natural disaster warning and forecasting systems field. One of theses two chosen use-cases concerns the floods warning service of Gard Region (SPC-GD) which monitors flash floods events to assist Civil Protection emergency operations. A climatic phenomenon called "épisode Cèvenol" occurs in this region and is due to storm events formed on the Mediterranean Sea and pushed by south winds causing some extreme rainfall events on Cevennes Mountains. Lessons learnt from past extreme events such as during the 8th and 9th September 2002, have emphasized the need of improving the monitoring and forecasting operations of this service. Indeed, used hydrological models can’t efficiently perform this task for several reasons, such as computational power and data storage lack. The use of Grid technology capabilities in this service could certainly help forecasters to reach these new objectives and more widely attest its possible usefulness for Civil Protection functioning. Thus, this article, in the scope of CYCLOPS project, presents a new potential functioning of SPC-GD in crisis management context, taking into account known advantages of Grid technology. Based on a technical descriptive approach, a set of new functionalities and respective technological requirements, from a data-processing point of view, are described and discussed.
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