by Linda Straker
- CCRIF Web Monitoring Application to help analyse impact of natural hazards
- WeMAp components monitor rain, cyclone, earthquakes and provide real-time forecasting
Grenada and other members of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) will be able to quickly analyse the impact of natural hazards such as excessive rainfall, hurricanes and earthquake through its Web Monitoring Application.
CCRIF has launched a web-based platform through which its members can monitor earthquakes as well as the development of potentially damaging heavy rainfall and tropical cyclones, analyse their intensity and assess their impact, as well as check whether an active insurance policy with CCRIF is likely to be triggered.
Called the Web Monitoring Application or WeMAp, this application is made up of four components or tools:
- Excess Rainfall Monitoring Tool for rain events (including but not limited to cyclonic events);
- Tropical Cyclone Monitoring Tool for wind and storm surge events induced by tropical cyclones;
- Earthquake Monitoring Tool for seismic events, and
- Real-Time Forecasting System (RTFS) for tropical cyclones – now updated from the version that was previously provided to members during the hurricane season each year.
“WeMAp is based on the new CCRIF SPHERA model, which underpins CCRIF’s tropical cyclone and earthquake parametric insurance policies and the CCRIF Excess Rainfall (XSR) 2.5 model, which underpins the excess rainfall policies,” said a news release from CCRIF.
The release said that current users made use of the tools during the passage of what was then Tropical Storm Dorian which passed by Barbados late Monday, 26 August 2019, and which is impacting other countries in the region.
The release said that the first three tools monitor actual data, while the Real-Time Forecasting System shows the expected future development of active tropical cyclones.
“Therefore, the data displayed in the RTFS are in reference to forecasts and weather model predictions and policymakers and disaster risk managers can use the information provided by the RTFS component to assist with contingency planning by providing a preview of what might happen if a given storm continues along a projected path, and activate appropriate contingency plans based on this insight,” said the release.
Other areas of monitoring are shelter management by identifying impact areas and shelter locations to support shelter allocation decisions and determining emergency interventions by identifying areas where populations are at risk so that decision-makers can issue warnings and plan for assistance.
During an active rainfall event, tropical cyclone or earthquake, users will be able to view the actual rainfall values from the different satellite and weather forecasting sources that are used in the XSR 2.5 model, the wind speed and storm surge values used in the SPHERA model for tropical cyclones or the peak ground acceleration values used in the SPHERA model for earthquakes.
WeMAp is provided to users by CCRIF at no cost. It is expected that it would play a key role in enhancing the understanding and interpretation of CCRIF insurance policies and their associated outputs.
Additionally, CCRIF’s main clients, that is, member governments’ ministries of finance, have been granted special access to view the modelled loss values calculated by the model for their country for an active hazard event for which they have a CCRIF insurance policy and therefore would be able to compare the loss values of the event to their policy. In this way, they can determine if their CCRIF policy is likely to be triggered by the event.
The main users of WeMAp include finance officials, disaster and emergency managers and meteorological officers as well as regional and non-governmental organisations involved in natural hazard risk management such as the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. Humanitarian organisations can also access WeMAp.
The release said that the information provided by the components of WeMAP can be used as triggers for preparedness and alert procedures by these organisations. The information provided through the tools is useful in informing decision making at such critical times to ensure public safety.
While some of the information displayed by WeMAp is publicly available and issued by third-party agencies (for example, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA), several layers are generated by CCRIF’s risk models, i.e. the XSR model (for excess rainfall) and the SPHERA model (for tropical cyclones and earthquakes).
WeMAp is based on Google’s API System and allows the display of the exposure and hazard maps over the entire domain covered by the XSR and SPHERA models, which includes the Caribbean, Central America and part of South America. The web address of the platform is: https://wemap.ccrif.org
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