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GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Global Flood Awareness System (GLOFAS)

Activity ID: 93


The Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) is independent of administrative and political boundaries and is supported by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Early Warning Systems. It couples state-of-the art weather forecasts with a hydrological routing model, and with its continental scale set-up provides downstream countries with information on upstream river conditions as well as continental and global overviews. 

  • GloFAS produces daily flood forecasts in a pre-operational manner since June 2011;
  • GloFAS has shown its potential during the floods in Pakistan in August 2013 and in Sudan in September 2013;
  • GloFAS has supported Red Cross operations in Africa and South America.

In its test phase this global forecast system was able to predict floods up to two weeks in advance. It is foreseen that GloFAS will become fully operational (guaranteeing a 24/7 service) as part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Early Warning Systems during 2017. GloFAS principal objectives are to improve preparedness and response for floods at a global level by providing:

  • added value flood forecasting information to the relevant national authorities complementary to existing national systems; and
  • international organizations with global scale, comparable, and basin-wide flood forecasting information.

Activities for the period

Goal: Set up GloFAS as a fully operational flood forecasting system during 2017.  Daily collection and pre-processing of numerical weather forecasts and observed data, collection of satellite information, calculation of initial conditions before the start-up of the forecasts, executing the hydrological routing model for GloFAS, post-processing of numerical model results and visualising them on a web interface. Final products are probabilistic flood forecasts at a global level with up to 30 days lead-time. Skill scores will be calculated and published online.

User engagement

Though the GloFAS Community Initiative, continue with further research and development, rigorous testing and adaptations of the system based on feedback from decision makers. These decision makers include national and regional water authorities, water resource managers, hydropower companies, civil protection and first line responders, and international humanitarian aid organisations.

Future Plans

Work with current and existing research students and staff to develop expertise in using and improving GloFAS model output. In the next phase of the project the focus will be on predictability on sub-seasonal to seasonal time scales (>2 weeks up to several months).


Resources to transition the system from the pre-operational to the operational stage will be provided by the Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Early Warning Systems.



Members: EC, UK.

Participating Organizations: ECMWF.

Linkages across the Work Programme

Community Activities: Global Flood Risk Monitoring.

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



Fredrik Wetterhall