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Natural Hazards

Natural Hazards

NH10 Multi-Hazards: The Latest EGU Natural Hazards Sub-Division

NH10 Multi-Hazards: The Latest EGU Natural Hazards Sub-Division

Earlier this year, the EGU Natural Hazards Division approved the addition of a new sub-division focused on the theme of ‘multi-hazards’. The Science Officers representing this sub-division, Joel Gill (British Geological Survey) and Marleen de Ruiter (IVM-VU Amsterdam), reflect on why this sub-division is necessary and how you can get involved.

Many regions are affected by multiple natural hazards, with hazards and/or their impacts not always occurring independently. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, therefore, advocates for ‘multi-hazard’ approaches to disaster risk assessment and reduction. The UN defines ‘multi-hazard’ as follows: 

“Multi-hazard means (1) the selection of multiple major hazards that the country faces, and (2) the specific contexts where hazardous events may occur simultaneously, cascadingly or cumulatively over time, and taking into account the potential interrelated effects” (UNDRR Terminology, 2017).

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I-REACT – ‘Fight disasters with your phone’

I-REACT – ‘Fight disasters with your phone’

Technology has never been more at hand than at the time we are living. Smartphones and the many apps on the market are proof of this. As I recently discovered, there is also an app developed to learn about natural hazards and, as they claim, fight disasters! This app is called I-REACT, and it was born from a homonymous innovation project funded by the European Commission and developed by a consortium of 20 partners. Their aim?

use social media, smartphones and wearables to improve disaster management

Of course, when I found out about the project, I curiously downloaded the app and started playing around with it, trying to figure out what it does and how it works. I have to say that I haven’t had the chance of reporting a disaster yet (and hopefully I won’t have even in the future), but I can say I find it user-friendly and exciting. Let’s get a bit more into details and understand this project and the app directly from the I-REACT Team!

Hi I-REACT Team! Can you tell us about who you are and how the I-REACT idea was born?

My name is Fabrizio Dominici. I’m Head of Data Science at LINKS Foundation and coordinator of I-REACT. I-REACT is an innovation project that uses big data, social media, smartphones and wearables to improve disaster management.

The project was born in 2016, within a European Commission call for proposals for more resilient and secure societies. We joined together 20 partners that are among the top experts to create a unified system for disaster management that responds to the needs of the three main actors in a disaster situation: emergency responders, decision-makers and citizens (all of ‘us’, Ed.).

The main idea of the project is to offer each one of us the best tools to prevent and face disasters. And in this context, I-REACT, as a project, provides a big data platform that crosses over inputs from different sources: satellites, social media, weather forecasts and much more. This, joined with a Decision Support System, is a crucial companion for emergency responders and decision makers.

For citizens, we developed the I-REACT app, which empowers them against disasters.

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Gaius Plinius Secundus and Sergey Soloviev, two names and awards.

Gaius Plinius Secundus and Sergey Soloviev, two names and awards.

The EGU has an award system in place aiming at recognising eminent scientists for their outstanding contribution in Earth, planetary and space science. There are different medals a researcher can be nominated to, including Division ones. Ah, before I forget: the deadline for this year nominations is 15 June! Don’t miss the chance to appoint an outstanding colleague. You can find more information on how to nominate candidates clicking on the EGU website.

The medals for the Division of Natural Hazard are two. One aims at recognising interdisciplinary natural-hazard research of scientists meeting the following criteria: outstanding research achievements in fields related with natural hazards, important interdisciplinary activity in two or more areas related with this topic, and research that has been applied in the mitigation of risks from natural hazards. This medal is named after Gaius Plinius Secundus. The second aims at awarding outstanding scientific contributions in fundamental research that improves our knowledge of basic natural hazards principles, as well as research that assesses and leads to the proper mitigation of natural hazards, from both human and environmental perspectives. This medal is named after Sergey Soloviev.

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Let the ash fall, but get ready for its consequences

Let the ash fall, but get ready for its consequences

The past 18th May marked 39 years since one of the most emblematic volcanic eruptions in historic times: the 1980 Mt St Helens explosive eruption. With a death toll of 57 victims, it is the deadliest volcanic event in U.S. history. If that wasn’t enough, it also destroyed hundreds of houses and roads. When we think about explosive volcanic eruptions what commonly comes in our minds about the possible related hazards are impressive Pyroclastic Density Currents (PDC) or Lahars (a glossary below), mainly because of their quick deadly potential, moving ashfall to a secondary role in producing hazards to population.

However, ashfall can be hazardous too even affecting people’s health in the long term and in distal areas from the volcano itself. In today’s post, we will go through how the fall of volcanic ash can be a hazard that must be taken into account by people living in the close (and sometimes not-too-close) neighbourhood of an active volcano. [Read More]