Axa Research: How can we prevent coastal flood risks?

28.02.2014 – axa-logo“We are able to put the French Atlantic coast on orange alert, but we are not able to tell the people living in a particular town or city what the risk is for them,” says Emiliano Renzi, a researcher supported by the AXA Research Fund, who is working to detect and prevent these catastrophes.

Currently, most storm surge analysis is conducted on a macro level, resulting in the implementation of large-scale initiatives. But local effects play a fundamental role in the measurement of magnitude.

In concrete terms, his project consists in predicting storm surge by listening to its acoustic signature. “When the wind violently stacks up masses of water, it creates acoustic waves in the water, just like when we talk on the phone thanks to the acoustic waves created by our voice and recorded by our microphone.”

However, one global trend could make detecting storm surges more difficult: climate change.Climate change is not causing these deadly waves, but it is changing their frequency and location. During recent years, it has been observed that natural disasters such as cyclones are moving northwards.

In addition to his research, Emiliano also actively participates in raising public awareness on this issue and making his work accessible. According to Emiliano, “There are many scientific websites on storm surges, but no information for the general public.”

To find out more, read the interview with Emiliano Renzi (in French/L’Express)(vwh)

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