This system is conceived to be a strategic tool, providing complete, immediate and intuitive information, to be used during the preparedness and response phases of the emergency cycle. The information is accessible through a WebGIS application, developed in a complete Open Source environment, that processes and disseminates warnings in an understandable way also for non-specialized users.
Available capabilities include the analysis of both the near real-time and the forecast rainfall amount for different lead times, with the aim to deliver extreme rainfall alerts. The extreme rainfall detection methodology is based on the concept of threshold. A threshold represents the amount of precipitation needed to trigger a flood event induced by extreme rainfall. Specifically, if for a selected aggregation interval the accumulated precipitation exceeds the threshold, an alert is provided. Before publishing, the alerts produced on areas entirely occupied by sea or ocean are discarded: ERDS, in fact, is a tool developed in order to provide alerts on populated areas.
NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) data, in particular the IMERG (Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrieval for GPM) Early run products, is used as a near real-time source of rainfall measurements. GPM IMERG data is characterized by a temporal resolution of 30 minutes, a 0,1° x 0,1° spatial resolution and a 60° N - 60° S spatial coverage , while the remaining upper and lower latitudes extending to 90° are considered as characterized by "partial coverage". The most recent GPM IMERG data is downloaded every hour in order to provide information about the accumulated rainfall (and related heavy rainfall alerts) over the past 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours.
ERDS is also able to provide longer lead-time alerts (up to 6 days) for heavy rain and floods, using forecast rainfall data coming from NOAA-GFS (Global Forecast System) deterministic weather prediction models, with a 0,25° x 0,25° spatial resolution and worldwide coverage, updated on a 12-hour basis.
The system has been used by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Emergency Preparedness Unit. During 2017/2018, information regarding accumulated rainfall and extreme rainfall alerts were integrated in TRIBUTE (TRIgger BUffers for inundaTion Events) portal, a DG ECHO funded project.
ERDS is now included in the Weather and Climate Large-scale Pilot of the LEXIS (Large-scale EXecution for Industry and Society) H2020 project (grant agreement n°825532). In the framework of LEXIS project, CIMA Research Foundation is running a 7.5 km resolution WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model with European coverage and radar data assimilation over Italy thanks to an advanced engineering platform based on HPC and cloud solutions. The data is processed by ERDS to provide more detailed forecasts over Europe up to 48 hours, both in terms of accumulated rainfall and heavy rainfall events.
Updates on the most severe hydrological disasters are published on our Twitter account (@ithaca_erds).