The University of Cadiz participates in a European project to combine satellites and ecosystems in flood risk management

jan/17th/2014 | UCC+icompartir noticiaimprimir

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The University of Cadiz participates in a 2.8 M euros EU research project to use satellites and ecosystems in flood risk management strategies

Un aspecto clave del proyecto FAST es la implicación de usuarios finales en el diseño, el desarrollo y la validación de los servicios FAST.

Un aspecto clave del proyecto FAST es la implicación de usuarios finales en el diseño, el desarrollo y la validación de los servicios FAST.

The European Programme for Research (7th Framework Program, SPACE-call) is funding a consortium of five European institutions (including the University of Cadiz) from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania and Spain to work on the FAST project (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology). FAST will started on 1 January 2014 and will last 4 years. During this period, this consortium will generate the first standardised tool for integrating ecosystem properties into flood risk management strategies. To achieve this objective, space technology and field measurements will be combined to study 8 foreshores and floodplain ecosystems in four European countries.

In future climate change scenarios, the maintenance of traditional flood risk engineering solutions (walls, levees and dykes) becomes increasingly costly to the tax-payer. However, nature provides free services of flood risk management since coastal and flood plain ecosystems reduce currents and waves, trap and retain sediment and work as buffer areas. The FAST project will develop new services to improve strategies for flood risk management by increasing sustainable development and cost reductions with the integration of ecosystem services into traditional flood risk engineering solutions. In fact, members of the FAST consortium had published recently in the prestigious scientific journal Nature an article on this subject (Ecosystem-based coastal defence in the face of global change, doi: 10.1038/nature12859).

The project FAST will develop a software to estimate environmental and biological variables from satellite images in a language useful for flood risk management. The development of this software requires the estimation of environmental and biological characteristics of foreshore and floodplain ecosystems from satellite images. To do so, it will need field data calibration, the development of relationships between ecosystem and coastal defence properties, and the translation of scientific into engineering and economic language.

A key aspect of the FAST project is the involvement of end-users during the design, development and validation of FAST products and services. The end-user groups include environmental agencies, coastal offices, councils, land use managers, non-governmental organizations and private companies in areas such as civil engineering, insurance or aquaculture. The close contact with end-user groups will help to produce tailored tools for regional end-user needs, ensuring commercial uptake and long-term continuation of services.

tags» University of Cadiz European project satellites ecosystems flood risk management FAST

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