In Brief

The Challenge

Floods are amongst the most common and deadly weather-related natural disasters. In 2020, for example, floods caused the deaths of more than six thousand people across the globe. Research shows that climate change is likely to increase the risk of flooding in the near future. Floods around the globe already threaten sustainable development, while floods in the future are also expected to alter exposure to climate risks, which may potentially reinforce inequalities.  

The project team understands that there is an urgent need locally and globally to better understand the dynamics of floods and to provide measures and methods to manage flood risks effectively and efficiently now and in the future. Flood forecasting systems are crucial tools for preventing flood damage and for reducing risks of the disaster's long-terms effects in people’s life and the economy. Flood forecasting systems exist worldwide and vary considerably in technical complexities and functionality, but due to technical and integration complexities, resilient forecasting systems are extremely difficult to develop. 

The Solution

The project investigates the development of a novel flood forecasting system for prediction of coastal-fluvial floods with the aim of pioneering a solution in the form of a robust, cost-effective and time-efficient framework for flood forecasting in conurbations across Ireland. This new system will use state-of-the-art solutions in internet of things, statistics, hydrodynamic modelling, machine learning, AI techniques and cloud computing systems. The project team believes the resilient systems have not yet been matured/demonstrated in operational model. Our team combines researchers from diverse scientific and computational disciplines (from engineering, natural sciences, IT and economics) as well as the involvement of practitioners and policy makers from the Irish state/semi-state organisations (such as OPW, Met Éireann and Marine Institute). Beyond the scientific value, the project will directly benefit society by mitigating flood risks in flood prone areas and increasing people’s safety. 

The Team

  • Team Lead: Dr Indiana Olbert, University of Galway 
  • Team Co-Lead: Dr Thomas McDermott, University of Galway  

Societal Impact Champion

  • Dr Ciaran Broderick, Met Éireann