From Preparation to Response: Coastal Decision Support during the Caribbean Hurricane Season 2010 with RADARSAT-2

By Aube et al., posted on December 28th, 2010 in earthzine, Disasters, Earth Observation, Featured Article

Guy Aubé, Dirk Werle, Stu Frye, Nicole Alleyne, J-F Saulnier, Guy Séguin, Mathieu Benoît, Claire Gosselin and Andy Welch

Developing Disaster Management Capacity with Earth Observation

The image of hurricanes in the public perception is shaped in large part by the widespread coverage of weather satellites that capture movement, shape and extent of the menacing cloud formations associated with these powerful natural phenomena (Figure 1). Great strides have been made to analyze and predict the behavior of hurricanes. Still, the destructive forces of excessive rain, high wind and pounding waves usually associated with hurricanes can endanger many people and wreak havoc along their path. The hurricane threat demands careful preparation in order to protect the population and safeguard against damage and loss of properties and livelihoods. Disaster and Emergency management at local, national and international scales require reliable and up-to-date information, and resources to support Mitigation, Response and planning activities.

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has chosen to address the challenge of hurricane and more generally disaster management in the Caribbean through its regional end-to-end pilots. The Caribbean satellite Disaster Pilot (CSDP) is a regional project under GEO Task DI-09-02B. It was established in 2009 in close cooperation with the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and regional institutions such as the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology and the University of the West Indies (UWI). The objectives of the pilot are threefold: (i) to demonstrate the effectiveness of satellite imagery to strengthen regional, national and community level capacity for mitigation, management and coordinated response to natural hazards; (ii) to identify specific satellite-based products that can be used for disaster mitigation and response on a regional level; (iii) to identify capacity building activities that will increase the ability of the region to integrate satellite-based information into disaster management initiatives. The CSDP has established five sub-projects:

  • Project 1: Sensor Web Satellite-based Flood Prediction and Warning – Caribbean-wide
  • Project 2: Coastal Decision Support with Earth Observation
  • Project 3: Urban Risk Mitigation (focus on high resolution issues in urban context)
  • Project 4: Multi-hazard Vulnerability Mapping (with risk assessment, flood and landslide focus)
  • Project 5: Integration of Satellite data into Local Operational Flood Warning and Response Systems

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