Unique service for European waters

Is the flooding extreme? How often is there severe flooding? Brand new opportunities for analysing water issues in Europe are now opening up thanks to a web service developed by SMHI. High-resolution information about water flows can be downloaded free of charge.

Just a few weeks ago we saw news images from a flooded Germany, where the Rhine and the Moselle in particular had burst their banks. But just how commonplace is flooding?

A brand new service developed by SMHI, E-HypeWeb, makes it possible to download information about water flows in the whole of Europe. This gives scientists, decision-makers, water administrators and anyone else interested a whole new potential for analysing the situation in watercourses, or for studying the flows out at sea.

“Since watercourses often cross national borders, until now it has been hard to find homogeneous information about, say, high water flows or droughts. Our new web service provides unique opportunities for downloading data for hydrological analyses. There is also information about water flows from land into the seas surrounding Europe,” says Berit Arheimer, a hydrology scientist.

High-resolution water data

Starting from a map of Europe, the user can zoom in to any area, or even to individual points and cities. The various series of high-resolution water information stretch back 20 years.

The web service is currently freely available and is in its first version. It will gradually be further developed in ongoing projects. The information, which is calculated using SMHI’s hydrological model E-Hype, will be checked against measurements, adjusted and updated with improved input data, for example.

“The model itself is excellent for laboratory work into hydrological issues on different scales. We are now looking for co-operation partners in Europe to improve the projection model,” says Arheimer.

Forecasts and future scenarios

There are also plans for the service to be extended in 2011 with forecasts for floods just over one week ahead. There will also be future scenarios for watercourses in a changed climate.

E-Hype is the result of several EU initiatives, such as the far-reaching GMES – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, in which water information services are part of the Geoland2 and MyOcean projects. Within the EU, SMHI is also leading a research project – SUDPLAN – which is developing web-based tools for analysing future climate effects, particularly relating to water resources and flooding in cities.

E-Hype stands for European Hydrological Predictions for the Environment.

Översvämning Tyskland
Rapid snow melting recently caused the Rhine and the Moselle, among others, to burst their banks.
Foto Torbjörn Hansson