Innovative warning systems for natural phenomena

New platforms are using advanced technology and artificial intelligence
Fenomenos Naturais3

Cascais wants to lead the process of prevention and containment of risks associated with extreme natural phenomena that, as scientists warn, will become more intense and frequent due to climate change. To help in this prevention work, Cascais will be able to count on two innovative warning projects for extreme natural phenomena such as heat waves, cold waves, flood risks and landslides.

"The territory has to be prepared to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of extreme natural phenomena. There are several ways to prepare ourselves that include several dimensions such as adapting the territory to the impacts" said Joana Balsemão, councillor for the Environment of the Cascais Municipality.

"And much has already been done in area of Cascais to promote this adaptation of the territory such as the renaturalization of streams that in the case of heavy rains will cause less impact on urbanized areas" said the councilwoman.

"Another way to prepare is through the implementation of clean up measures and information and awareness-raising activities for the population" said Joana Balsemão, who also stressed the importance of being able to predict the occurrence of these extreme phenomena in good time.

"Knowing when, where and how these natural phenomena will occur is extremely useful for us to trigger prevention mechanisms and to outline action plans with the support of various sectors and departments of Cascais in close coordination with Civil Protection", said the Councillor.

One of these projects, the result of a partnership between Cascais and 'CoLAB +ATLANTIC' - a non-profit association, is 'Coast.SENSE' - an intuitive user interface for consulting and obtaining environmental and climate data that integrates early warning systems for territorial exposure to extreme events and measuring their impact.

In the case of a heat wave or cold snap, for example, it is possible to predict it 48 hours in advance and measure its impact with a precision of 250 meters. In other words, monitoring temperature locally and distinguishing impacts not only by parish but in each street or determined urban area.

Another project is the result of a partnership with 2ADAPT that puts technological development at the service of new tools to create alerts for extreme natural phenomena and their consequences such as floods and landslides. The innovative system allows for a 78-hour advance warning of flood and landslide risks using existing data that is transformed into information that can be used by local authorities acting in these situations to trigger prevention mechanisms.