EIES members receive £50,000 from the British Council to implement a big data-based flood prediction system for the Black Sea region.

A team led by Omer Yetemen at EIES (Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences) and John X. Shi at the University of Glasgow has received the British Council Research Environment Links (REL) grant to strengthen the agricultural resilience under climate change through a big data-based flood prediction system for the Black Sea region.

As the second most destructive natural hazard in Turkey, floods have caused about 30 fatalities and US$100 million economic loss annually since the 1970s. The Black Sea region in Turkey experiences 22% of the flood events occurring nationally and 33% of the fatalities, making it the single most region impacted. Due to the steep topography, the region experiences fatal landslides triggered by heavy rains. Recent catastrophic floods in the central Black Sea region in August 2021 underlined the necessity of establishing a flood prediction system in the context of climate change.

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Photo taken by Tolga Gorum shows the landslide event triggered by heavy rain in Hopa (Artvin) in Aug 2015.

The nine-month project will make a significant contribution to current research on flood prediction and agricultural resilience within the UK and Turkey contexts, which aims to look into agroeconomic resilience through the implementation of a big data-based flooding prediction system. The project will elucidate the interlinked benefits of societal well-being, environmental sustainability, and economic growth in the Black Sea region. The results will be disseminated to a broad user community and develop adaptive measures and pathways of flood prediction system-based farming that can enhance agriculture resilience in the region.

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Photo taken by Semih S. Akay shows the removal of debris and sediments carried by the catastrophic floods in Bozkurt (Kastamonu) in Aug 2021.

The continuing collaboration between ITU-EIES and the University of Glasgow will be embodied in a variety of approaches, including collaborative publications, other international workshops, potential funding applications, staff exchanges, and joint postgraduate programs in natural sciences.

The Turkish side of the team is composed of researchers from EIES including Omer L. Sen, Orkan Ozcan, Tolga Gorum, and Bikem Ekberzade, and Emrah T. Ozdemir from the Turkish State Meteorological Service, and Turan Yuksek from Rize RTE University.

The British Council Research Environment Links (REL) grants are designed to provide financial support for the development and implementation of pilot activities to promote capacity-building collaboration shaped by the demands and priorities of Turkey and the UK.