When the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Network (FCERM.net) was launched in November 2013, it had aspirations of creating a collaborative, innovative and interdisciplinary environment to bring together members of UK research, industry and policy to share knowledge, understanding and practical experiences of their flood related work. Its aim was to enable the whole FCERM community to respond to future challenges in joined-up ways that produce research and solutions that are both world-leading and of significant practical value to users.
However flooding and coastal erosion are not problems experienced only in the UK. The global impact of flooding has recently been in the headlines, with the recent release of the World Meteorological Organisation’s joint report, The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012. According to the Atlas, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of droughts, floods, and other weather-related hazards in the period spanning 1970 to 2012. With our changing climate, and projections of more extreme weather in future, now is the time to bring the global research communities together.
To truly create innovative solutions, we must of course learn from our own successes and failures, but we should also seek to explore global best practice in our field. To that end, Professor Garry Pender recently gave an interview for a European publication, to help our network members here in the UK connect with their contemporaries working on flood related issues in European countries. In the interview Garry stresses the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration which cannot and should not be confined by sectoral or national boundaries.
“Flooding has far-reaching impacts beyond the physical nature and timeframe of the flood itself. Floods can generate millions of pounds of damage, but it is the longer-term impacts to communities such as loss of life, mental health impacts and insurance costs that create lasting damage. These are complex interdisciplinary issues that require expertise from meteorologists, hydrologists, mathematical modellers, behavioural psychologists, economists and engineers.”