Disaster Risk Mitigation & Climate Adaptation

Providing higher-resolution meteorological forecasts that can help address the challenges caused by compound flooding.

In a nutshell

  • Compound flooding is the source of numerous challenges and it increases the likelihood of such hazard as tides, surge, waves, river discharge, precipitation and extreme events such as cyclones.
  • Deltares, together with its partners KNMI, Tecnalia and 510 Red Cross, are working on setting up a digital twin that will support disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation.
  • DestinE will provide a unique opportunity for higher-resolution meteorological forecasts and climate projections that can contribute towards keeping people safe from flooding. The progress and results will be showcased through distinct case studies.

Technical Overview

Civil protectionClimate adaptationEnvironment
DeltaresKNMITecnalia510 Red Cross


Climate change will result in sea level rise and changes in environmental conditions, such as changing rainfall patterns or marine physical conditions. At deltas around the world, where the river meets the sea, extreme events such as hurricanes may result in a phenomenon known as compound flooding.

Compound flooding refers to an event in which two or more flooding sources occurs simultaneously or in quick-succession, causing an amplified event that results in greater impacts. This phenomena also poses unique challenges owing to the multitude of variables that contribute towards the hazard such as tides, surge, waves, river discharge, precipitation and extreme events such as cyclones.

To support better forecasting and disaster mitigation, higher resolution information is required to deliver information in a timely manner. A unique opportunity is provided by DestinE in that regard, as higher-resolution meteorological forecasts and climate projections can contribute towards keeping people safe from flooding, now and for the future.


Figure 1.1 Areas where rivers meet the sea, like here, have potential risk of compound flooding

DestinE Solution

Deltares, together with its partners KNMI, Tecnalia and 510 Red Cross, are working on setting up a digital twin that will support disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation. A generic, globally-applicable modelling framework using open-source model components will be applied, and where needed, replaced or refined further using local models, thus, applying a “global to local” approach.

A total of five case study areas have been selected:

  • Basque Country
  • United Kingdom
  • Philippines
  • La Reunion
  • Dutch Caribbean Islands (BES Islands)

The diversity in environmental conditions and user needs across the case studies will allow the team to demonstrate the applicability of the service. For each case study area, an end-user is identified, who will provide iterative feedback to determine case-specific requirements. The system will ideally ingest high-resolution meteorological forecasts and climate simulations, forming the input for regional coastal or inland models to provide boundary conditions for local modelling. A generic, globally applicable framework will be created using open-source model components from Deltares that could be replaced by existing user-owned models.

To address climate adaptation challenges, the system will facilitate the exploration of future pathways for coastal adaptation. The results generated within this contract for each of the case study areas will be disseminated to users via various services such as the APIs, web mapping services or (S)FTP, depending on users’ preference. When available, the datasets can also be made available via the Destination Earth Core Service Platform (DESP) and the Destination Earth Data Lake (DEDL).

The first version of the service will build upon locally used weather forecasts (ECMWF, MeteoFrance, UK MetOffice, KNMI), existing climate projections (Copernicus, CMIP, CORDEX, CP-RCMs), wave datasets (ERA5/WaveWatch III) and discharge datasets (GLOFAS, EFAS). The currently available forcing data, such as ECMWF High Resolution, has spatial resolutions of up to 9km. However, from past work, we know that modelling the complex processes of compound flooding requires higher-resolution input data in order to generate relatively higher resolution flood maps of up to 200m. When available, Destination Earth and their contractors will be able to deliver forcing data of up to 2km in spatial resolution, which will potentially improve the accuracy and resolution of the final flood maps.

We expect to integrate higher resolution (in space and time) successors of the abovementioned datasets available with regular updates through Destination Earth in the Tier2 dataset. Hereto an operational pipeline between the developed system and Destination Earth will be developed using the REST API interface and other workflow functionalities. For validation of the model outputs observed flood extent maps from the archive of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) will be used.

Figure 1.2: Schematic of DestinE Technical Architecture proposed within this project


Thus far, ECMWF has collected the first user requirements in a workshop held at the end of March. Each user presented the unique challenges they faced, and the first set of requirements were collected to feed directly into the technical design. For all the users involved, using higher resolution data for forecasting is a common interest. In addition, users would like to validate or compare the results from this project with historical extreme events where data was also captured, in order to assess the suitability of the digital twin outputs for their various needs.

By end of August, ECMWF will be focused on getting the generic model train (workflow) up and running, with first results expected by then. The outputs of the compound flood model are maximum water levels with a resolution of 200m. With higher resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM), the data can be translated to flood depths at much higher resolutions. With globally available DEMs, this can be up to 30m, while in-situ elevation models with higher resolution will facilitate higher resolution flood depths.

A progress workshop with all the users will be organized once the first datasets are developed.

Figure 1.3: Timeline for the duration of the project


The objective of this contract is to demonstrate the integration of regional coastal and inland models and local flood models in different regions, including in the Basque Country, the UK, La Reunion, the Dutch Caribbean Islands (BES Islands) and the Philippines, to manage compound flood risk. The regional models will use highresolution DT Extremes and in some cases also DT Climate data and configure transferable workstreams that provide actionable information to end users. The contract implements a co-design approach engaging local stakeholders in the design.


Stichting Deltares