The ANYWHERE project will showcase their major achievements in Brussels

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Screenshot of A4Lig showing a fire propagation in Corsica, developed within the framework of the ANYWHERE project by CIMA Foundation and implemented in Genoa Civil Protection Service, in the Liguria Region (Italy).

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Snowfall. Photo by Remi Jacquaint on Unsplash

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Heavy rain in Benicarló (Castelló), October 19th, 2018

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The Security Research Event 2018

The Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the UPC is coordinating the ANYWHERE project, aimed at establishing a pan-European multi-hazard platform for faster analysis and anticipation of weather-induced risks prior to event occurrence. It will also improve response management in emergency situations and help exposed populations avert loss of life, damage to infrastructure and economic losses related to these events. The project will showcase their major achievements in the Security Research Event 2018 to be held in Brussels this week.

Dec 05, 2018

The Innovations and technological solutions developed within the framework of the ANYWHERE project will be showcased in the Security Research Event 2018 (SRE), the annual meeting organised by the European Commission to present the latest developments in security research. The project will be on display on 5-6 December in a stand (Hall 2, Square 2, Street E, Stand 54) enabled at the Square Meeting Centre in Brussels.

Emergencies induced by extreme and high-impact weather and climate events deeply affect our society and cause huge economic losses. Experts agree that, due to climate change, these phenomena have increased in frequency or magnitude, resulting in more devastating potential impacts for people and goods. At a European level we can find recent examples of extreme episodes, such as the snowfall in Segovia (Spain) in January 2018, the forest fires that hit Portugal in 2017 and Greece in July 2018, the floods in Mallorca (Balearic Islands) and in Carcassone-Aude (France), both in October 2018, and the storm surges, floods and windstorms that stroke Italy in October and November 2018. The best way to successfully face with these events is through prevention and anticipation.

The ANYWHERE (EnhANcing emergencY management and response to extreme WeatHER and climate Events) project aims to tackle this problem. The project started in 2016 and is due to end in 2019, and is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with a budget of over €12 million. The partner Consortium is made up of 34 organisations from 11 European countries, combining representatives of universities and research centres, developers of forecasting techniques, national, regional and local emergency management authorities, and companies in the sector. Together they form the Triple Helix of university-industry-government relationships, which pursues economic development through knowledge. Therefore, this is a user-driven innovation action that not only focuses on scientific achievements but will also reach a pre-commercial stage.

Meteorological forecasts translated into potential impacts
The ANYWHERE platform integrates a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MH-EWS) which uses about 300 algorithms and forecasting products sorted by meteorological and climate hazards such as floods, storms surges, heatwaves, forest fires, droughts, severe winds and snowfall. This has been achieved by capitalising on the advanced forecasting methodologies and impact models developed over the last decade.

The platform is designed to help predict the immediate evolution of extreme climate and weather events and the specific impact on a territory, allowing the civil protection and emergency system to respond in order to avoid economic losses and save lives. This tool is able to simulate more than one risk simultaneously and to translate meteorological forecasts into quantitative and measurable impacts, paying special attention to affected people (focusing on inhabited areas) and critical infrastructure (roads, hospitals, schools and certain industries).

Real-time coordination and decision-making support
The ultimate purpose of the ANYWHERE project, which is coordinated by professor Daniel Sempere, a researcher and the director of the Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), is to enable society as a whole and the main civil protection agencies to respond more rapidly and effectively than today to extreme and high-impact weather and climate events, and to better cope with the high social, environmental and economic impacts related to them. The platform provides cutting-edge early warning products to help exposed populations prepare for disasters, and also serves as a tool to support decision-making by management authorities in situations of risk. It thus aims to fill the gap between the available science and technology and the real practice of first-responder command centres during weather-induced emergencies.

Validate and improve the platform
Within the framework of the ANYWHERE project, an operational platform to support decision-making processes (A4EU) has been developed and implemented in the Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) control centres of six pilot sites representing different climatic scenarios around Europe: Catalonia (Spain), Liguria (Italy), South Savo (Finland), Bern Canton (Swiss Alps), Rogaland (Norway) and Corsica (France). The scenarios for the pilot tests were chosen on the basis of their diversity (geographic size, orography, population density, most common meteorological risks, etc.) and the interest and commitment expressed by their civil protection services.

The A4EU platform has been locally customised to the specific needs and requirements of each pilot site.  However, all six implementations are able to integrate the same products and services generated by the the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System.

The features implemented by the tool have been defined by the PPDR organisations involved in the existing pilot sites. The interaction between end-users and developers helped contributed to create a tool able to meet the following needs: automation of warning systems; integration of the available risk/emergency local data sources; higher resolution; monitoring focused on critical points (schools, hospitals and vulnerable areas); nowcasting to track potential evolution of events; and simplified warnings to better tackle the response.

Over a one-year demonstration period, starting in October 2018, the A4EU platform will be tested, validated and improved in each pilot site.

Through this project, it is planned to make a qualitative leap in the management of risks caused by extreme weather events and potential emergencies associated with them. This improvement might translate into a greater ability to accurately detect serious situations and avoid damage to the population.

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