Why is this important?
Extreme weather can hit any time, anywhere. However, proper planning, monitoring, and early warning can mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters, sometimes preventing them from turning into humanitarian catastrophes.
What are we doing?
The European Commission has developed near real-time alert systems for the EU Civil Protection Mechanism's participating states with the aim of getting better equipped to monitor natural disasters and improving early warning communication. Cooperation across the European Commission has facilitated the development of disaster forecasting and disaster management tools.
The Commission's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) has developed the European Flood Alert System (EFAS) and the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). EFAS alerts the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) on the most severe flood events and EFFIS provides daily meteorological fire danger maps and forecasts up to six days before, including maps of burnt areas and damage assessment.
The Global Disaster Alerts and Coordination System (GDACS), developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre and used jointly by the EU and UN, is a fully automatic 24/7 alert system which gathers data about natural events (earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms, floods and volcanoes).
Meteoalarm is an online alert platform established by the European meteorological services, which issues European weather warnings.
An agreement with the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) has allowed earthquake detection in the Mediterranean area to be considerably quicker and accurate, by adding sensors in Tunisia.
The European Commission also cooperates with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) on the establishment of a tsunami warning system for the North Atlantic and Mediterranean region.
Early warning and monitoring systems are developed and financed by the Civil Protection Financial Instrument. Most systems focus on the EU Member States' territory.