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Brussels, 17 May 2011
Projects taking part in the European Commission's workshop on earthquake and tsunami risk, 20 may 2011
Projects funded under the EU's Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development
Except where stated, funding was through the Commission's Research and Innovation Directorate-General.
SAFER - Seismic Early Warning for Europe
Researchers have already developed specific tools for an earthquake early warning system to be used especially in densely populated cities. SAFER tested and applied these tools to several test cities located in seismic areas: Istanbul, Bucharest, Athens, Napoli and Cairo, which together have a population of around 40 million inhabitants.
The project proposes a completely new generation of early-warning systems, based on low-cost sensors (taken from the air-bag technology of the car industry), which wirelessly communicate with each other and with a warning network.
Scientists working on the SAFER project have been able to determine the expected magnitude and extent of an imminent earthquake within tens of seconds compared with the previous time-lapse of tens of minutes. This buys precious time to allow the appropriate measures to be taken to minimise loss of life and mitigate damage to essential structures and services.
Prof. Jochen ZSCHAU,
E-mail: email@example.com or
Prof. Gasparini : E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
EC contribution: € 3 600 000
Duration: June 2006 - June 2009
This project will be the follow-up to the SAFER project under FP7 and is currently under negotiation – to start in autumn 2011.
The project aims to improve the efficiency of real time earthquake risk mitigation methods enhancing the quality of information provided by earthquake forecasting, and early-warning. All the information will be combined in a fully probabilistic framework to be used for decision making in real time. In the European context it will be a background to improve also tsunami alerts. The methods will be tested in 12 target structures located in areas prone to earthquakes and possibly tsunami hazard too (e.g. Istanbul, Lisbon, Thessaloniki).
The consortium includes most of the main European research groups and will collaborate with key institutions outside Europe (e.g. Japan, USA, Taiwan)
DEWS - Distant early warning System (funded by the Commission's Information Society Directorate-General)
In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean in 2004, research though the DEWS project led to the development of a new tsunami early warning system for the region. The former systems needed 11 or 12 minutes to detect a seismic event and locate its source, the new one takes only 4 minutes. It can also assess its potential to unleash a tsunami and warn all the countries at risk in the Indian Ocean. In addition, DEWS has developed an informatics platform able to alert quickly the relevant authorities and citizens (for example, using widespread SMS transmission), in case of a tsunami risk.
Project technical coordinator:
Joachim Wächter [email@example.com]
GEOFORSCHUNGSZENTRUM POTSDAM, Germany
EC contribution: €4 020 000
Duration: February 2007 - May 2010
TRANSFER - Tsunami Risk And Strategies for the European Region
TRANSFER has developed tsunami risk and inundation maps for eight Mediterranean test areas (Rhodes/Fethiye, Istanbul, Cadiz, Balearic Islands, Messina Straits, Alexandria, North-East Atlantic and Bulgarian Black sea coasts). TRANSFER as also set up inventories of the so called "tsunamigenic sources", the areas where an earthquake may generate a tsunami and earth observing and monitoring systems relevant for a European Tsunami Early Warning System.
Prof. Stefano TINTI
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM-UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA, Italy
EC contribution: € 3 310 000
Duration: October 2006 - September 2009
NEAREST - Integrated observations from NEAR shore sourcES of Tsunamis: towards an early warning system
The characterisation of potential "tsunamigenic source", the areas where an earthquake may generate a tsunami, by the NEAREST project led to the production of a new tectonic map for south-west Portugal. The NEAREST team has developed, deployed and tested a prototype tsunami detector that is installed on the seafloor and communicates with a network of on-shore warning centres. The project has also developed a simulator that allows the modelling of a geomorphologic environment that may generate earthquakes and tsunamis as well as their consequences. The simulator is a useful training and decision-making tool for emergency services and civil protection agencies.
Dr Nevio ZITELLINI
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE, Italy
EC contribution: € 2 850 000
Duration: October 2006 - March 2010
SEAHELLARC - Seismic and tsunami risk Assessment and mitigation scenarios in the western Hellenic ARC
The coastal zone of the Western Peloponnese was used as a pilot area for SEAHELLARC since it is one of the most seismically and tectonically active regions of Europe. Simulations of tsunamis induced by earthquakes and landslides were performed and inundation maps were plotted for selected tsunami scenarios. Particular attention was paid to the coastal cities of Pylos, Filiatra and Kiparissia. At the heart of the project was the deployment of a seismic network for real-time data transmission, consisting of one marine and four land stations in the south-western Hellenic arc.
Dr Joanna PAPOULIA,
HELLENIC CENTRE FOR MARINE RESEARCH, Greece
EC contribution: €1 300 000
Duration: June 2006 – November 2009
SCHEMA - Scenarios for hazard emergencies management (funded by the Commission's Enterprise and Industry DG)
Using Earth observation data, the SCHEMA project has produced handbooks to help experts develop tsunami scenarios, and vulnerability and damage maps as well as evacuation plans. SCHEMA has developed a general methodology for scenario design which can be used by end users in urban planning and disaster management across different geographical areas to assess the risks of tsunamis and the damage they might cause. SCHEMA has also developed a methodology to generate tsunami evacuation plans, giving guidelines on how to implement and communicate specific protection measures.
Dr Richard GUILLANDE,
GEOSCIENCES CONSULTANTS, France
EC contribution: € 1 190 000
Duration: August 2007 - July 2010
OTHER EU INITIATIVES
GDACS - The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)
The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS -http://www.gdacs.org), a web-based platform developed by the JRC in cooperation with DG ECHO (humanitarian aid) and the United Nations, provides near real-time alerts about natural disasters around the world and includes tools to facilitate response coordination.
GDACS combines information on the event, affected population and population vulnerability to derive an alert level that indicates the severity of the situation, reflecting the needs for international humanitarian intervention. GDACS automatically sends out the alerts via e-mail or SMS to the GDACS user community which includes the first responders community.
In case of a potential tsunami, innovative software automatically calculates within minutes the estimated wave propagation and sends the alert via sms, e-mail or fax. This piece of software is based on a model that takes into account seismic parameters, such as the earthquake epicentre and magnitude, and pre-calculated potential tsunamis based on their historical locations. The tsunami alert level can be "green" if the wave is lower than 1 m., "orange if it is between 1 and 3 m. and "red" if it is higher than 3 m.
The JRC Tsunami model integrated within GDACS has proved to be very efficient in recognizing all the major tsunami events that have occurred since its introduction in the GDACS alerting mechanism.
GDACS registered users in 2011: almost 14000, from all over the world, mainly from international and national response agencies, NGOs, local emergency managers, research organisations.
The top 10 GDACS users, by countries of origin, are:
United States, Germany , United Kingdom , Australia ,India, Indonesia , France, Canada , Italy , Thailand
GMES Emergency Response Service
Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is a European programme led by the European Union and implemented by the European Commission (EC) jointly with EU Member States and the European Space Agency (ESA).
As part of the GMES initiative, the GMES Emergency Response Service will reinforces the European capacity to respond to emergency situations:
It provides a reactive cartographic service to the registered users involved in the management of humanitarian crisis, natural disasters and man-made emergency situations with timely and high quality products derived from space observation
This pre-operational service is powered through an FP7 project (Services and Applications For Emergency Response-SAFER). This is not linked to the other SAFER project described above, on seismic early warning.