NH
Natural Hazards

Luigi Lombardo

My name is Luigi Lombardo and I am a Post-Doctoral fellow at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology since March 2016. I completed my Ph.D. in 2015 in a co-tutelle programme between the Universities of Palermo (Italy) and Tübingen (Germany). My research interests lies in the area of spatial predictive modeling ranging from primary applications in geomorphology to soils science and hydrology. I joined the EGU early career scientists of the Natural Hazard division (NhET) in 2016. Since then I contributed to the activities of the group and now, together with part of the team we will manage the Natural Hazard blog of the EGU. It goes without saying it, but being Italian, I love cooking and has also worked as a sous chef in my youth.

Another (surprising) brick in the wall: how seagrass protects coastlines against erosion.

Another (surprising) brick in the wall:  how seagrass protects coastlines against erosion.

Dear readers, today our blog will host Marco Fusi, a postdoctoral fellow working on coastal ecosystems. Together with Marco we will give a twist to our usual geoscientific perspective and mix some ecology in it. Specifically, we will explore the surprising role of seagrass in limiting coastal erosion effects.

Marco Fusi is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at KAUST (Saudi Arabia), since 2014. He graduated at University of Milan (Italy) with a Ph.D. in tropical ecology. His primary interest focuses on ecological connectivity and interactions in coastal ecosystems.

1- Hello Marco, please give us an overview of coastal erosion issues.

When we speak about coasts, we think about beautiful mangrove forests or a dream tropical coastline that harbours beautiful crystal water where to dive in the middle of coral reefs. However, we tend to forget that coasts are inhabited by almost 3 billion of people all over the world and hundreds of kilometres of coastline are heavily constructed. Cities, resorts, villages are expanding along the coast worldwide and often, the risk of coastal erosion is not considered. In the lasts decades, inland anthropogenic management resulted in a limited input of sediment to the sea and therefore the marine current started to erode beaches and rocky shore resulting sometimes in dramatical destruction of buildings.

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The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

Dear readers, today our blog will host Ryan Stone from Lambda Films. He will tell us his story and perspective behind the camera while documenting people’s lives constantly exposed to volcanic risk. If you want to get a quick taste of today’s content, just take a long breath and watch this video: https://www.lambdafilms.co.uk/video-production/an-eclipse/.

Ryan Stone is the co-founder & Creative Director of Lambda Films, a video production company and animation studio based in the UK.
Lambda Films have developed a specialism in storytelling and natural hazards; producing a variety of video and animation content to help educate vulnerable communities living with volcanic risk. These films have always been in collaboration with researchers, organisations and academics from across the globe.

 

Hello Ryan,  Please tell us about the aim and perspectives of a director involved in natural hazard films

When starting with any film project, we have to be clear about what are the objectives and who are the audience, and ensure everything we shoot supports those two considerations. In the case of our natural hazard films, we have to achieve a balance between imparting useful information for a non-scientific audience and keeping the audience engaged. (so that they can they learn.) We have to ensure both the information and visuals are pitched just right, as the viewers are most likely to be those at risk of future events.

Our first ever brief was simply a series of interviews, which provided the useful information but was lacking in engaging and varied visuals, so since, we have ensured all of our subsequent collaborations afford us enough time to film the interviews and shoot relevant lifestyle footage. This b-roll footage, whether it’s of the interviewee at work, or visiting the ruins of their former home, adds an extra depth to the narrative, keeping the visuals interesting and adding further impact to their words.

We try to keep the ‘actors’ (i.e. local people) at the front and centre of the films – essentially the stars of the show – whilst also recognising the extent to which the various locations, and the hazards themselves also play a major role in the films. This footage can both demonstrate the beauty and pressures of the natural environment, as well as some of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the communities that live with the risk of natural hazards.

As a director, you always have to consider the visual impact on the audience, and ensure shots look interesting, relevant and are able to support the, often sensitive and/or scientific content. Personal stories or scientific explanations can often be quite lengthy, so a director has to consider the production as a finished film, not just the individual scenes in isolation.

 

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Hazard chains: from anthropic oil spills to ecosystem pollution. Can tiny organisms be the solution?

Hazard chains: from anthropic oil spills to ecosystem pollution. Can tiny organisms be the solution?

Hello to everyone. Today I have the personal pleasure to interview Dr. Grégoire Michoud. He is a friend and a brilliant scientist working on ecosystem microbial ecology. In the interview, Grégoire will talk to us about oil spills in the marine system, a specific anthropic hazard that can evolve into a natural hazard with terrible environmental consequences.

Grégoire Michoud is a Post-Doctoral Scientist at KAUST (Saudi Arabia), since 2015. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, in Brest France. His primary research interest focuses on the characterization of the coping mechanisms of microbes in extreme environments (deep sea, brine pools, hydrocarbon pollution) by genomics and cultures approaches. His work has application in hazard chain from anthropic sources to natural targets.

 

 

Hello Grégoire, please tell us a bit about environmental issues related to oil spills.

When it comes to oil spills, widespread publicized releases are rare events and represent just 10% of the overall release in the marine ecosystem. The remaining 90% is actually due to ship activities or other land-based industries that contribute to the pollution. One example of rare oil spill is the Deep Water Horizon case where, in a relative short time, a huge amount of oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico. However, in the vast majority of situations, small quantities of oil can be released from random events adding up to a considerable pollution.

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Natural Groundwater Quality: an underestimated and yet dangerous hazard.

Natural Groundwater Quality: an underestimated and yet dangerous hazard.

Today I have the pleasure to interview Dr. Evangelos Tziritis, a brilliant scientist and a friend. He will talk to us about Natural groundwater quality hazard and its implications. This blog aim is to discuss Natural Hazards. Therefore, today we will focus on the natural component of water quality, disregarding anthropogenic sources. 

Evangelos is a Research Scientist at the Soil and Water Resources Institute of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter”. His main research domain is focused on environmental hydrogeochemistry, as well as on other aspects including hydrogeology, aquifer vulnerability, geostatistics, isotope hydrology, water resources management, and environmental monitoring of water reserves. His record of achievements includes more than 10 years of experience in geo-environmental projects of basic and applied research in liaison with private firms, stakeholders, and academia. He has published more than 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences.

 

 

  1. Today we are going to talk about Natural Groundwater Quality Hazards. What can you tell us about it? How would you define the Natural Groundwater Quality Hazards?

Natural groundwater quality hazards are defined as the natural factors that adversely influence the environmental quality of aquifer systems. In contrast to anthropogenic factors which are purely man-induced (e.g. agricultural or industrial impacts, domestic sewage and wastes, seawater intrusion due to overexploitation, etc), the natural causes are triggered solely by geogenic factors, such as the weathering of geological formations; the impact of diagenetic processes; the influence of geothermal fields, etc.

Groundwater quality is dynamically affected by external (e.g. precipitation) and internal (e.g. lithology) factors, which may alter the initial, potentially pristine, chemical composition of the solution.  Groundwater moving through rocks and soils may pick up a wide range of inorganic compounds including major and minor ions, heavy metals and metalloids, some of which are toxic in certain concentrations (e.g. Cadmium, Selenium, Arsenic, Copper, Boron, Lead, etc). It should be noted that natural hazards define along with other characteristics the hydrogeochemical background on an aquifer system, thus they are not related to contamination (defined as the deviation of the natural background values of a constitute) but rather to a relative enrichment of specific chemical constitutes, which depending on their overall concentrations and unique attributes (e.g. toxicity, bioavailability, etc) may be detrimental to natural and anthropogenic environment.

 

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