The Global Flood Monitoring (GFM), opens an external URL in a new window of the Copernicus Emergency Management Services (CEMS), opens an external URL in a new window provides in near-real-time continuous monitoring of floods together with contextual auxiliary layers to guide rescue missions and risk analysis. Its products deliver critical information on ongoing floods events to users worldwide, including national authorities, emergency units, research centres, decision-makers and other stakeholders. GFM, embedded in the CEMS infrastructures, offers its novel and highly-relevant products on an open and free basis, to a diverse worldwide user community.

The service is based on a system embedded in a datacube architecture for satellite data and holds the complete Sentinel-1 radar archive in conjunction with supporting datasets built from high-resolution optical, topographic, hydrologic variables, as well as other thematic data like land cover. Our radar experts at the Remote Sensing Group at TU Wien’s GEO Department developed the geospatial framework and one of the three “ensemble” flood mapping algorithms, aiming for robust automatic worldwide flood detection. The GFM system is built up and developed with our partners at Earth Observation Data Centre (EODC), opens an external URL in a new window, geoville, opens an external URL in a new window, Earth Observation Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), opens an external URL in a new window, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), opens an external URL in a new window, CIMA Research Foundation, opens an external URL in a new window, and the funding agency Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, opens an external URL in a new window.

Sentinel-1 flood maps - Greece 2022

In September 2023, the Greece region of Thessaly was again hit by devasting floods, resulting from an extreme rainfall event brought by the cyclone Daniel, dubbed a “Medicane” (Figure 1). In Figure 2, you can see the GFM flood extent product in a sequence of six consecutive overpasses by Sentinel-1A, capturing the onset and incipient retreat of the massive flood. Figure 3 shows the aggregated flooded area - that was underwater at some point during these two weeks - totalling to an area 638 km² of mostly urban and agricultural areas.