Participants of 15th EFAS Annual Meeting (online)
Participants of 15th EFAS Annual Meeting (online)

by EFAS Dissemination Centre

At least 152 people participated at the 15th EFAS Annual Meeting (AM) which took place on October 22, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the scheduled physical meeting was instead transferred to the online Webex platform. The meeting was organized by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the EFAS Dissemination Centre (DISS) with the support of all EFAS operational centres.


Achievements during the last year

EFAS DISS presented the six new partners that have joined EFAS since the last annual meeting and two webinars that were held. High number of issued notifications and analysis of provided feedback was mentioned. Overall, floods were comparable to the EFAS predictions from last year, yet less severe than the 2020 EFAS predictions. The Annual Survey was not carried during this virtual meeting; however, the partners will be requested to provide feedback on EFAS for the entire year 2020 and will receive a questionnaire in January 2021.

The EFAS Hydrological Data Collection Centre (HDCC) presented their Annual report 2019, in which 1149 discharge stations are analysed. Discharge values in 2019 did not differ much from 2018, although it was clearly lower compared to the historical period 1991-2016. Threshold levels (available in 1092 stations) were exceeded in 51% of the stations, mostly in summer and late autumn. Currently 1824 stations from 44 partners are providing water level or discharge data. New developments will involve post-processing, real-time and fixed reporting points layers.

The EFAS Meteorological Data Collection Centre (MDCC) described their station network and collected variables. The data processing system was improved since the last AM and Data licence for non-EUMETNET members is now available. 6-hourly grids of precipitation and average temperature have been prepared for integration into the Lisflood model. As future development, MDCC plans to avoid duplicated stations in grids, to improve the performance of grid creation that will be used in future EFAS higher spatial resolution and to include new data providers and more parameters and stations from existing data providers.

The EFAS Computational Centre (COMP) highlighted the novelties since last year, including the release of EFAS v4.0 in October 2020, new Reporting point layer, new sub-seasonal products, improvements in the ERICHA and ERIC layers, more detailed documentation on Wiki and more data accessible through the Climate Data Centre.


What’s new in EFAS v4.0?

EFAS COMP explained the improvements in the Lisflood model and its 6-hourly calibration. The comparison of model performance between EFAS v3.0 and EFAS v4.0 showed that the Kling-Gupta Efficiency (KGE) for the new calibration increased in most of the stations and in most of the catchments. The number of points for post-processing have increased and a new evaluation layer has been launched. In addition, the model performance and forecast skill can help users to evaluate the model results.


New products and Services

An enhanced reporting point layer was also shown to the participants. This layer displays fixed and dynamic reporting points with a 6-hourly time step and besides hydrographs of return periods also discharge hydrographs. Sub-seasonal and seasonal outlooks were presented as well. These layers provide an outlook of hydrological condition for larger regions for the next 6 and 8 weeks with updates twice a week and monthly respectively. Many of the EFAS results are now available in the Climate Data Store (CDS). These include EFAS forecasts with a 30-day delay, EFAS v4.0 reforecasts, historical EFAS water balance, sub-seasonal and seasonal forecasts and all the previous EFAS versions.

Besides feedback on EFAS Formal Flood Notifications and feedback on missed events, a new feedback form enables the provision of quick feedback on Flash-flood notifications. All provided feedbacks are visualised in the EFAS-IS.


Case study analysis

A joint DISS and HYDRO presentation covered a detailed analysis of floods in Northern Spain in December 2019, when the Ebro, Douro and Minho-Limia basins were hit by three storms on December 16-22, 2020. Besides the hydrological assessment and evaluation of the EFAS performance, a reconstruction of the events for each basin was also made based on Twitter tags/Hashtags (#) containing specific words. It was concluded that the quality of the provided EFAS forecasts was fairly high and the events were detected by EFAS with a lead-time of 3 to 9 days. For some rivers, there seem to be some challenges in the model, particularly in the description of human impacts e.g. reservoirs. Incorporating the operational usage of these reservoirs could potentially increase the accuracy of the EFAS forecasts.


What's next for EFAS?

Peter Salamon (JRC) reported on upcoming plans. These included:
•    EFAS Pre-tasking of the acquisition of satellite images based on EFAS forecasts;
•    Increase of spatial resolution to app. 1 arcmin;
•    New global monitoring product using the satellite Sentinel-1.
Peter Salamon also informed the partners about the end of all existing EFAS Framework contracts next year and expected public procurements of the services.


Flash floods

Calum Baugh (COMP) presented recent developments of the Flash flood layer and discussed changes, problems and possible solutions. Calum Baugh also talked about flash flood forecasts in the EFAS system, about changes, the evaluation in EFAS v4.0, and about challenges and solutions. ERIC products needed to be re-evaluated after the new LISFLOOD calibration. Further evaluation showed that flash flood threshold criterion remains unchanged. The biggest challenges are missed events in the summer, the prevalence of false alarms in winter and persistence criteria for flash floods notifications. Some of potential solutions were finally discussed.


Open data and new EFAS partner agreement – presentation, discussion and voting

Peter Salamon (JRC) led the presentation and voting procedure on the new EFAS Condition of Access (CoA). Its final version was drafted after the discussions on last EFAS Annual Meetings and e-mail communication during the 2020 summer. Each partner had one vote and the Conditions of Access might be updated by a qualified majority, i.e. two thirds of present and voting. The new CoA were adopted with 40 out of 41 EFAS partners voting in favour of it. New EFAS Condition of Access is published on the EFAS webpage.



The meeting was full of information and organizers appreciated a lot that partners provided feedback and had many questions that could move EFAS forward. The EFAS annual meeting concluded with a hope that next year we will be able to meet again face to face.


Below you can find the presentations given at the 15th EFAS Annual meeting:

Status of EFAS operational – experiences, issues, challenges:

•    Dissemination Centre (Ilias Pechlivanidis, DISS)
•    Hydrological Data Collection Centre (Mercedes García Padilla and David Blanco de Cordova, HDCC)
•    Meteorological Data Collection Centre (Christoph Schweim, MDCC)
•    Computational Centre (Christel Prudhomme, COMP)

What is new in EFAS 4.0:

Model improvements, 6-hourly calibration, new evaluation layers (Cinzia Mazzetti and Shaun Harrigan, COMP)

New products and Services:
•    New reporting point layer (Christel Prudhomme, COMP)
•    New product: sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S extended range) forecasts (Fredrik Wetterhall, COMP)
•    New electronic feedback form (Marc Girons, DISS)

Case study analysis - Floods in Spain 2019 (Mark Hegnauer, DISS and Mercedes García Padilla, HYDRO)

What’s next for EFAS (Peter Salamon, JRC)

Flash floods. Presentation on recent developments. Debate on changes, problems and possible solutions (Calum Baugh, COMP) 

Open data and new EFAS Conditions of Access (Peter Salamon, JRC)

Minutes of the EFAS Annual Meeting 2020