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Why forecasting floods should be a global collaborative effort

Dr Andrea Ficchi from the University of Reading shares his views and experience providing real-time flood forecast bulletins to the humanitarian sector during Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in an article that featured in The Conversation.  

During these devastating floods across Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe in March and April, teams from the University of Reading, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and University of Bristol worked to bring flood forecasts from GloFAS together with dynamic flood inundation impact mapping information to aid on the ground decision making.

This work has received recognition when Dr Rebecca Emerton and Dr Ficchi won first prize at the University of Reading Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2019. In addition, they have been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education (THE) awards 2019 due to take place on 28 November in London.

Dr Ficchi said: “We are delighted that our work has been shortlisted for a THE award. It’s brilliant to see that such collaborative work across research projects, Universities, organisations and countries is being recognised for the positive difference it can make.”

Dr Emerton said: “We are proud to work with a fantastic team of scientists and humanitarians both here in the UK and at our partner organisations around the world, and we are glad that the research we do was able to help in the response to the two devastating cyclones and extensive flooding in southeast Africa earlier this year.”

Close collaboration with universities, local and national authorities, and international organisations is essential to help make operational GloFAS forecasts useful for real-world decision making.


By Shaun Harrigan     Sept. 6, 2019, 2:58 p.m.