Much of the Earth’s coastline, including parts of Ireland, is potentially at risk from storm surges. As such, it is critical that appropriate models and forecasting algorithms are developed, whose outputs can be used to accurately and appropriately forewarn at-risk coastal populations, or aid them in developing their social and infrastructural capacity to withstand such events in future.
There are several ways in which Earth Observation (EO) data could be used to improve storm surge forecasting. For example, sea surface wind-speed (from scatterometers) and sea surface height (from altimeters) can be monitored, whilst storm systems and conditions can be tracked. To this end, the ESA-funded eSurge project provides easy access to relevant EO data, has demonstrated the value of using EO data, and is actively encouraging its uptake into on-going storm-surge modelling and forecasting efforts.
The focus is now on capacity building and communicating these successes and developments to the research and forecasting community. To this end a forum for the global storm surge community has been organised for November 18th-20th 2013 (http://www.storm-surge.info/forum-2013). This shall be an opportunity to review and discuss the needs of the storm surge community, and how EO data can be utilised to meet these needs. An online training course shall also be launched at the forum, which shall assist regional capacity building across the globe to respond and adapt to storm. Finally, a training event in the use of EO data for storm surge modelling and forecasting shall be held in Cork on February 20th-21st, 2014 (http://www.storm-surge.info/training-event).