We’re expecting a strong GfGD presence again at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in 2015 and look forward to meeting some of you there. Last week we noted some great sessions on natural hazards education, communications and geoethics (all with exemption from abstract processing charges).
Here we note some sessions from the ‘Natural Hazards and Society’ session within the natural hazards division. Each of these may give people some novel ways to think about hazards and disaster risk reduction. Do consider submitting abstracts – the deadline is 7th January 2015.
**Resilience and vulnerability assessments in natural hazards and risk analysis**
The assessment of vulnerability and resilience is an essential part within natural risk analysis. Commonly, these assessments relate purely to the stability of buildings or to chances that people will be affected. These investigations relate in particular to natural and engineering science approaches, but other types of vulnerability are also inherent, yet are often not covered but need also to be assessed. Similarly, resilience is a new approaching concept in risk assessments and needs to be explored. These relate among other things to coping capacities and strategies of affected people and communities, to intangible and indirect economic losses, and to communication and education networks. In addition to partially addressed aspects of vulnerability there is neither a uniform and well-excepted technique or method or standard available to assess vulnerability within its multifaceted nature. Different approaches and disciplines often remain in their corner and interdisciplinary approaches are rare. This session aims to summarize assessments of different types of vulnerabilities (e.g. social, personal, structural, economic, political, environmental) and resilience and to present applications for different natural phenomena. The main focus herein is to present different strategies based on developments from different disciplines and to discuss these according to similarities, but also differences. The role of vulnerability assessment within risk analysis is of particular importance. Researchers as well as practitioners are encouraged to present case studies and applications, conceptual ideas and new methods on the analysis of vulnerability to natural hazards. In order to allow a fruitful discussion and exchange between the different disciplines we encourage a particular focus on the demonstration of the employed methodology and the data bases available for respective research or application.
**Cascading and Concurrent Hazards: case studies and models**
This session will examine case studies and models for cascading and concurrent hazards, both natural and anthropic. Multi-hazard risk assessments for a given region have commonly been restricted to qualitative and semi-quantitative approaches, in which risks across individual hazards are summed together to give the resultant multi-hazard risk. However, relationships between hazards may not sum linearly and may have cumulative and non-linear effects. Here we solicit case studies and models for cascading hazards (one hazard triggers a chain of hazards, e.g. earthquake → landslide → flood) and concurrent natural hazards (two single hazards occurring at the same time as each other, and the resultant risk not summing linearly). One hazard can also increase the probability of another hazard occurring. We foresee both a lively oral and poster session, along with an opportunity for brief oral overviews of the poster sessions paired with discussion, and thus encourage both types of submissions.
**Geohazards and Critical Infrastructures: Exposure, Vulnerability, and Damage Costs**
Critical infrastructures such as transportation systems, telecommunications networks, pipelines, and reservoirs are at risk of geohazards (e.g., landslides, earthquakes, floods) in many urban and rural areas worldwide. A key to safe and affordable operations of these types of infrastructure is an in-depth knowledge of their exposure and vulnerability to geologic hazards and the impact of damage experienced either locally or across the network. Fundamental understanding of hazard and risk involves (i) systematic identification and mapping of potential infrastructure exposure, (ii) integrated assessment of impact as result of damage, repair and/or mitigation, (iii) indirect losses from infrastructure disruption, (iv) consideration of interactions between hazards and/or cascades of hazards. This session welcomes contributions with a focus on geohazards risk assessment for critical infrastructures, and compilation of databases to record impact and elements at risk. We also encourage abstracts addressing the development and application of tools for cost modeling. The session is dedicated to contributions with national, regional, and local perspective and intends to bring together experts from science and practice as well as young scientists. We encourage poster submissions, and foresee a lively poster session couple with oral talks, and will, if appropriate, have an associated splinter discussion session.
**Global and continental scale risk assessment for natural hazards: methods and practice**
In this session we will address recent research in natural hazard risk assessment at the continental to global scales, and discuss future research needs required to advance this rapidly developing field. The session also focuses on the inclusion of spatial and temporal aspects in large-scale risk assessments. The demand from stakeholders for information on natural hazard risks at the continental to global scale has grown explosively in recent years, and large-scale risk assessments have played a prominent role in several major reports (e.g. Global Assessment Reports (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction and IPCC SREX report). Moreover, 2015 will be a landmark year for international development with the renewal of major international policies – the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals, COP15 and the Hyogo (disaster) Framework for Action – and access to evidence on disaster and climate risks is fundamental to these discussions. This has led to increased scientific research to develop new, and improve existing, methodologies for the collection and development of fundamental hazard, exposure and vulnerability datasets. Specific research needs include the robust assessment of risks that address both spatial and temporal changes in underlying risk drivers, i.e. hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Moreover, research is required on how society can best reduce, or manage, this risk. Such information is of key value to stakeholders such as (re-)insurers, governments, development agencies, and disaster planning and preparedness institutes. We invite contributions related to the full range of natural hazards, and to chains of hazards leading to worst-case scenarios. We encourage contributions focusing on the influence of risk of human systems and economic and urban development; short-term variability in natural hazards; and short to long term changes in natural hazards. We also encourage contributions examining the use of scientific methods in practice, and the appropriate use of continental to global risk assessment data in efforts to reduce risks.