Dubai created a Decision Support System based on the integration of the latest weather technology, forecasting extreme weather events and protecting the city’s coastline at the same time.

Dubai launched its Decision Support System for Marine and Waterways Management in 2012, the first of its kind in the region, reducing climate change-induced risks to the coastal zone. The system consists of an integrated suite of meteorological, hydrodynamic, and wave models, combined with real-time data management and Web-based tools, creating a coastal monitoring and forecasting system. The system has been successful in predicting extreme weather events 24 hours in advance, delivering data and decision support to the municipality and public users on everything from sea level rise; change in wave frequency, height, and direction; increased precipitation rates; coastal erosion; and increased sea water acidity.

75,000 visitors to the Dubai coast website in 2015, benefiting from the weather information available from the system.

Cities100 – 2016

Not just providing actionable, real-time information, the system has allowed for the creation of a comprehensive historical database, as well as a coastal inundation tool, capable of forecasting and mapping the extent of coastal flooding. By collecting weather and oceanographic information, the municipality is able to account for future risks of climate change in its infrastructure planning and design for the Dubai coastline.

The challenge

The Dubai coastline faces many risks because of climate change. Sea level is forecast to rise a minimum of 4 mm annually, while storm events are expected to be more frequent and severe. The Decision Support System for Marine and Waterways Management has integrated the latest technology to forecast extreme weather events and flooding, enabling the city to better respond and adapt to these climate change challenges.


Economic Data produced by the system is sold to developers and other stakeholders to assist in commercial planning.

Environmental In addition to forecasting extreme weather events, the system also records data for coastal environmental indicators, including turbidity and algal blooms, quantifying these events in order to mitigate their impacts in the future.

Health Residents avoid injury and death via the provision of severe weather warnings from the system.

Social The system is designed to help protect and maintain cultural heritage features along the coastline through their identification on maps and targeted monitoring.

About Dubai

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. Dubai’s oil revenue helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate’s revenue comes from oil. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Global Goals addressed