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Flood warning via text message: FAU researchers work on local information system

Heavy rains could become a more frequent problem in the coming years (Image: Panthermedia)

Heavy rains could become a more frequent problem in the coming years (Image: Panthermedia)

In light of recent events, when heavy rainclouds move across the sky or a powerful storm comes down, some people may ask themselves: are my possessions in danger? Researchers at FAU’s Geozentrum Nordbayern work to provide an answer to this question. Together with the Gesellschaft beratender Ingenieure für Bau und EDV (Association of consulting engineers for construction and computing; GBi), they are developing a sophisticated computer programme to warn affected homeowners, entrepreneurs and local authorities of impending floods in the future. The project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology with about 320,000 euros.

Different climate prognoses indicate that the local weather in the coming years could frequently feature torrential rains. Where such precipitation occurs, small streams and rivers swell at lightning speed – floods are imminent. But which properties are at risk, what extent of flooding is expected and when exactly it will occur – information on these things is currently not sufficiently available quickly and for individual properties.

That is something the FAU geologists led by Prof. Dr. Harald Stollhofen, Chair of Geology, Prof. Dr. Joachim Rohn, professor of Applied Geology, and project co-ordinator Dr. David Bertermann want to change: over the next one and a half years they will develop a regional early warning system and a concept for local flood protection based on this system together with the GBi engineers. Their goal is software that filters out properties at risk of being flooded due to heavy rains. The affected property owners can be warned on time via text message, e-mail or a mobile app.

The geologists and engineers will combine very different pieces of data: they will use already available information on the topology and hydrodynamics and create new data sets on vegetation, soil properties and infiltration. Furthermore, real estate data from local authorities and current weather information will be integrated into the project. Researchers want to develop communal flood protection systems on this basis, as often relatively simple measures in one place can have a great effect on areas further downstream.

Further information:

Dr. David Bertermann
Phone: +49 (0)9131 85 25824
david.bertermann@gzn.uni-erlangen.de

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