ECFAS Roadmap

As one of the final products of the ECFAS project was a Roadmap for the ECFAS proof-of-concept (prototype) service towards full integration into the Copernicus suite of emergency services (CEMS). The ECFAS proof of concept shows real potential for providing the Copernicus Emergency Management Service with an almost ready-to-implement component for coastal flood emergency services.

ECFAS envisages to address an urgent need for coherence and efficiency in coastal flood early warning services in Europe. There appears to be a significant gap in services that can assist in the implementation of the full cycle of coastal flood emergency management, as: a) the vast majority of the available (and accessible) early warning systems (EWSs) provide forecasts and warnings on the basis of Total Water Levels (TWLs), but not of the flood extent, flow depth and velocity and the potential impacts on the population/assets; and b) there is ‘polyphony’ in terms of critical characteristics of available EWSs at the European level.

A questionnaire survey of potential end-users of such services has shown that most end-users are keen on a pan-European early warning service for coastal floods which would include assessments of their impacts on the population and built environment, exposure evaluations, the provision of associated mapping products, analysis of the shoreline dynamics (coastal erosion) forced by extreme events, and event-based flood notifications, which are not currently provided by the available systems.

There is an increasing array of international and European policy and legislation instruments, which explicitly, or implicitly, address issues pertinent to the coastal flood risk prevention, management and response; these instruments promote coherence of the relevant tools and set targets/indicators for the availability of and access to disaster risk information and assessments, and EWSs. In this context, a pan-European early warning service, such as ECFAS, presents a beneficial step forward.

Besides the coastal flood early warning service itself, some of the developed tools and products have also been identified as potential expansive tools (e.g., Total Water Level forecasting and shoreline monitoring along the EU coasts) for the portfolio of the Copernicus Marine and Land Monitoring services; these services could benefit from the ECFAS products by leveraging these developments in their portfolio through their product integration procedures.

As for the maturity and readiness of the PoC to be transferred to Copernicus Services, even if some of the components of the ECFAS system have reached a higher stage than the proof of concept separately, the ECFAS system as a whole is a proof of concept (TRL 3), but few short-term technical evolutions will be needed for each ECFAS technical component.

An industrialization phase will be required to build a fully operational system, setting up monitoring procedures of software performance and infrastructure availability, establishing redundancy of the services, backup of the data, monitoring the CPU, RAM, disks of the hosting infrastructure, etc.
Next steps for integration of ECFAS into the Copernicus services have been identified.

It has been beyond the scope of ECFAS to propose procedures and time schedules for such integration, given that this mostly relies on Entrusted Entities in charge of CEMS, CMEMS and CLMS, as well as on the Commission and Copernicus User Forum. Additional technical evolutions have been identified for both the medium- and the long-term, to improve the future service in terms of the accuracy and resolution of the produced information and its usage.

The Roadmap analyses the cost-benefit of ECFAS, considering its users feedback and its technical breakthroughs. A calendar of integration will be proposed, taking into account technical constraints and coordination with the CEMS evolution program.

The ECFAS Roadmap will be available for download from Zenodo, once it has been approved by the EC.