Flooding is by far the most common natural risk in France and worldwide. According to the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, this phenomenon affects one third of all municipalities at various levels, including 300 large conurbations. To anticipate these events as best as possible, Anne-Catherine Favre, Professor at Grenoble INP – Ense3 and researcher at the LTHE, is working on improving hydrological forecast models (water supply forecasts), and calibrating overall hydrological and meteorological forecasts. “For example, several researchers at the LTHE use the analogue method which is based on the principle that two similar atmospheric situations give rise to similar local weather situations”.
The statistician also works on prediction, i.e. evaluating the likelihood that an event will occur based on the simulations produced by the climate models. This work is primarily aimed at dimensioning civil engineering structures so that they can withstand extreme events (with a long return time, that is a low occurrence probability). “In the past, dimensioning was carried out in a stationary context, explained the researcher, however, at present, we have to take into account climate change which means that extreme weather events are likely to happen on a much more frequent basis”. Unfortunately, the models feature considerable uncertainties with regard to extreme events. “To solve this problem, the researchers break down the sources of uncertainty in an attempt to reduce the uncertainty wherever it is the most substantial”. Since 2013, the excellence and innovation support project (SEI) sponsored by Grenoble INP MEPIERA (Innovative methodologies for water engineering and associated risks) and led by Anne-Catherine Favre, has helped to initiate interdisciplinary cooperation between various laboratories which may lead to European or ANR*-type call for tenders. These in turn could generate for the Grenoble site the influence that it deserves in this area.