Contribution to the Development of the Emergency Response Service for Severe Hydro-meteorological Events in Romania
Stancalie, Gheorghe; Craciunescu, Vasile; Irimesu, Anisoara; Mihailescu, Denis
National Meteorological Administration, ROMANIA

The satellites provide data that have proved useful for a wide range of applications for the severe hydro-meteorological events management and associated Emergency Response Service, due to various reasons: timeliness, repetitiveness, synoptic coverage, comparability of data, accuracy and stability of measurements, integration into high-quality dedicated products, etc.
The European Earth monitoring program GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) has entered in its initial operational phase following the adoption of the Regulation on GMES and its Initial Operations for the period 2011-2013 (GIO). The participation in European environmental policy implementation as well as efforts towards becoming a full member state of EUMETSAT (2010) and European Space Agency (2011) were the main drivers of latest Romanian developments in Earth Observation tools, techniques and technology.
Recognizing the threat of extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena (like floods, severe convective storms, extreme frost and snowfall, hailstorms, heat waves and drought) the Romanian Meteorological Administration, developed and implemented an efficient and powerful National Integrated Meteorological System (SIMIN). The SIMIN system is based on a distributed architecture with one national center, connected to multiple regional sites. It supports all types of users, with a suite of tools dependent on the operational need of each user. SIMIN succeeded to modernize the various resources and real-time detection capabilities, and also to facilitate the exchange of data at the local, regional, and global levels. SIMIN integrates different meteorological surveillance sensors (Doppler radar systems in S and C band, lightning detection network, automated weather stations, hydro-meteorological buoys, etc.). An important component is the satellite receiving station (MSG) and the image processing/analysis system.
The paper presents the user-driven development of services, based on satellite remote sensing and geo-information capacities, integrated in the SIMIN, targeted to develop an interoperable framework for the management of the available observation and forecasting meteorological geo-information, able to provide reliable and timely independent information for the hydro-meteorological related risk management to Romanian stakeholders.
A dedicated Web-based Information System for Flood Management, based on satellite data and GIS technology, was implemented in Romania as a contribution to the Emergency Response Service, in the Framework of GMES. The main functions of the online system are: acquisition, storage, analysis and interpretation of data; management and exchange of raster and vector graphic information, and also of related attribute data for the flood monitoring activities; handling and preparation for a rapid data access; updating the information (temporal modification); data restoring, including the elaboration of thematic documents; generation of value-added information; distribution of the derived products to authorities, institutions, media, etc.
The satellite data were acquired from the internal financial resources or provided by International Charter for Space and Major Disasters and SAFER - the pre-operational European Emergency Response Core Service. An appropriate methodology was developed and tested, in order to process the raw data (satellite optical or radar, with medium and high range spatial resolution), to rapid mapping of flood extent and finally integrate the information related to hydro-meteorological events into useful, standardized, cartographic products. Beside the hazard and risk maps, flood extent evolution, 3D flythrough and different animations were produced to get a more complex perspective on phenomenon dynamic and dimension.
A lot of thematic satellite derived maps have been produced in the last 5 years and shared with users at central level like the Disaster Management Centre in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations and local (county) administrations. The results can be quickly disseminated, in digital form via Internet, using a dedicated webpage. Experience gathered in current activities showed that end-user, although not experienced in taking benefit of the informational content provided by EO data, is starting to be more effective in using EO derived information products.