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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS)

Brief Communication: CATALYST – a multi-regional stakeholder think tank for fostering capacity development in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptationNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2157-2163, 2014Author(s): M. P. Hare, C. van Bers, P. van der Keur, H. J. Henriksen, J. Luther, C. Kuhlicke, F. Jaspers, C. Terwisscha van Scheltinga, J. Mysiak, E. Calliari, K. Warner, H. Daniel, J. Coppola, and P. F. McGrathThis brief communication presents the work and objectives of the CATALYST
project on "Capacity Development for Hazard Risk Reduction and Adaptation"
funded by the European Commission (October 2011–September 2013). CATALYST
set up a multi-regional think tank covering four regions (Central America and
the Caribbean, East and West Africa, the European Mediterranean, and South
and Southeast Asia), intending to strengthen capacity development for
stakeholders involved in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change
adaptation, in the context of natural hazards. This communication concludes
with a selection of recommendations for capacity development in DRR and
climate change adaptation from the perspective of governance issues. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

Automated classification of the atmospheric circulation patterns that drive regional wave climatesNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2145-2155, 2014Author(s): J. Pringle, D. D. Stretch, and A. BárdossyWave climates are fundamental drivers of coastal vulnerability;
changing trends in wave heights, periods and directions can severely impact a
coastline. In a diverse storm environment, the changes in these parameters
are difficult to detect and quantify. Since wave climates are linked to
atmospheric circulation patterns, an automated and objective classification
scheme was developed to explore links between synoptic-scale circulation
patterns and wave climate variables, specifically wave heights. The algorithm
uses a set of objective functions based on wave heights to guide the
classification and find atmospheric classes with strong links to wave
behaviour. Spatially distributed fuzzy numbers define the classes and are
used to detect locally high- and low-pressure anomalies. Classes are derived
through a process of simulated annealing. The optimized classification
focuses on extreme wave events. The east coast of South Africa was used as a
case study. The results show that three dominant patterns drive extreme wave
events. The circulation patterns exhibit some seasonality with one pattern
present throughout the year. Some 50–80% of the extreme wave events are
explained by these three patterns. It is evident that strong low-pressure
anomalies east of the country drive a wind towards the KwaZulu-Natal
coastline which results in extreme wave conditions. We conclude that the
methodology can be used to link circulation patterns to wave heights within a
diverse storm environment. The circulation patterns agree with qualitative
observations of wave climate drivers. There are applications to the
assessment of coastal vulnerability and the management of coastlines worldwide. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

An integrated approach for the evaluation of technological hazard impacts on air quality: the case of the Val d'Agri oil/gas plantNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2133-2144, 2014Author(s): M. Calvello, F. Esposito, and S. TrippettaThe Val d'Agri area (southern Italy) hosts one of the biggest onshore European reservoir
and the largest oil/gas pre-treatment plant, named Centro Olio Val
d'Agri (COVA), located in a rural/anthropized context. Several hazards are
associated with this plant. These are mainly represented by possible impacts
of the COVA atmospheric emissions on the local air quality and human health.
This work uses a novel approach based on the integration of air quality
measurements from the regional monitoring network, additional experimental
measurements (i.e. sub-micrometre particulate matter (PM1) and black
carbon (BC)) and advanced statistical analyses to provide a preliminary
evaluation of the Val d'Agri air quality state and give some indication of
specific areas potentially affected by COVA hazards. Results show that the
COVA plant emissions have a particular impact on the air quality of the
area closest to it. In this area several pollutants specifically related to
the COVA combustion processes (i.e. nitrogen oxides, benzene and toluene)
show the highest concentration values and significant correlations. The
proposed approach represents a first step in the assessment of the risks
associated with oil/gas exploration and pre-treatment activities and a
starting point for the development of effective and exportable air quality
monitoring strategies. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

An explanation of large-scale coal and gas outbursts in underground coal mines: the effect of low-permeability zones on abnormally abundant gasNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2125-2132, 2014Author(s): F. H. An and Y. P. ChengLarge-scale coal and gas outbursts pose a risk of fatal disasters in
underground mines. Large-scale outbursts (outburst of coal and rock greater
than 500 t) in recent years in China indicate that there is abundant gas in
areas of outbursts containing large amounts of potential energy. The
adequate sealing properties of the roof and floor of a coal seam are
required for local abundant gas around the site of an outburst, but an
annular low-permeability zone in a coal seam, which prevents the loss by gas
migration through the coal seam itself, is also required. The distribution
of coal gas with this annular zone of low permeability is described, and it
is proposed that the annular zone of low permeability creates conditions for
confining the coal gas. The effect of this low-permeability zone on the gas
distribution is analyzed after allowing for simplifications in the model.
The results show that the permeability and length of the low-permeability
zone have a great impact on the gas distribution, and the permeability is
required to be several orders of magnitude less than that of normal coal and
enough length is also in demand. A steep gradient of gas pressure in the
low-permeability zone and the high-pressure gas in the abundant zone of gas
can promote coal mass failure and coal wall deformation, thereby
accelerating the coal and gas outburst. The high-pressure gas in abundant
zone of gas will lead to a large-scale outburst if an outburst occurs. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

Stochastic relation between anomalous propagation in the line-of-sight VHF radio band and occurrences of earthquakesNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2119-2124, 2014Author(s): K. Motojima and N. HagaThis paper was intended to find out any relation between anomalous
line-of-sight propagation on the very high frequency (VHF) band and occurrences of earthquakes
near the VHF propagation paths. The television and FM radio broadcasting
waves on the VHF band were monitored continuously over the long term. For
that purpose, a multidirectional VHF band monitoring system was established
and utilized. Anomalous line-of-sight propagation on the VHF band was
distinguished from the monitored wave by using a statistical analysis. After
the stochastic consideration, it was found out that earthquakes associated
with anomalous propagation were characterized by magnitude of earthquakes
M ≥ 4.5, and distances from epicenters L ≤ 75 km. The anomalous
propagation was monitored on the VHF band a few days before the associated
earthquakes occurred. Moreover, the anomaly appeared on multidirectional
propagation paths simultaneously. The anomaly on the line-of-sight
propagation indicates the possibility of narrowly focusing the area of the epicenter
of earthquake. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

Assessment of the physical flood susceptibility of buildings on a large scale – conceptual and methodological frameworksNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2105-2117, 2014Author(s): A. Blanco-Vogt and J. SchanzeThere are various approaches available for assessing the flood
vulnerability and damage to buildings and critical infrastructure. They cover
pre- and post-event methods for different scales. However, there can hardly
be found any method that allows for a large-scale pre-event assessment of the
built structures with a high resolution. To make advancements in this
respect, the paper presents, first, a conceptual framework for understanding
the physical flood susceptibility of buildings and, second, a methodological
framework for its assessment. The latter ranges from semi-automatic
extraction of buildings, mainly from remote sensing with a subsequent
classification and systematic characterisation, to the assessment of the
physical flood susceptibility on the basis of depth–impact functions. The
work shows results of the methodology's implementation and testing in a
settlement of the city of Magangué, along the Magdalena River in
Colombia. 2014/08/22 - 19:43

Spatiotemporal multifractal characteristics of electromagnetic radiation in response to deep coal rock burstsNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2089-2103, 2014Author(s): S. Hu, E. Wang, and X. LiuDynamic collapses of deeply mined coal rocks are severe
threats to miners; in order to predict collapses more accurately using
electromagnetic radiation (EMR), we investigate the spatiotemporal
multifractal characteristics and formation mechanism of EMR induced by
underground coal mining. Coal rock in the burst-prone zone often exchanges
materials (gas, water and coal) and energy with its environment and
gradually transitions from its original stable equilibrium structure to a
nonequilibrium dissipative structure with implicit spatiotemporal
complexity or multifractal structures, resulting in temporal variation in
multifractal EMR. The inherent law of EMR time series during damage
evolution was analyzed by using time-varying multifractal theory. Results
show that the time-varying multifractal characteristics of EMR are
determined by damage evolution processes. Moreover, the dissipated energy caused by
the damage evolutions, such as crack propagation, fractal sliding and
shearing, can be regarded as the fingerprint of various EMR micro-mechanics.
The dynamic spatiotemporal multifractal spectrum of EMR considers both spatial
(multiple fractures) and temporal (dynamic evolution) characteristics of
coal rocks and records the dynamic evolution processes of rock bursts.
Thus, it can be used to evaluate the coal deformation and fracture process.
The study is of significance for us to understand the EMR mechanism in detail and
to increase the accuracy of the EMR method in forecasting dynamic disasters. 2014/08/16 - 18:23

New improvement of the combined optical fiber transducer for landslide monitoringNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2079-2088, 2014Author(s): Z.-W. Zhu, Q.-Y. Yuan, D.-Y. Liu, B. Liu, J.-C. Liu, and H. LuoLandslide monitoring is important in predicting the behavior of landslides,
thereby ensuring environmental, life, and property safety. On the basis of
our previous studies, we conducted the double shear test by using a
third-generation optical fiber transducer that uses expandable polystyrene
(EPS) as base material. However, the third-generation transducer has poor
performance when cohesive force is present between the grout and capillary
stainless steel pipe of the transducer. Thus, the fourth-generation optical
fiber transducer was invented. Similar to the third-generation transducer,
the fourth-generation transducer also used EPS as its base material. Single
shear test was conducted on the fourth-generation transducer after being
grouted with cement mortar (1 : 1 mix ratio). The micro-bend loss mechanism
of the optical fiber was considered, and the optical time domain
reflectometry instrument was used. The fact that the loss sequence of
optical fibers subjected to loading is different at various locations is
found. The relationship of the loading-point displacement vs. optical fiber
sliding distance and optical loss were measured. Results show that the
maximum initial measurement precision of the newly proposed device is 1 mm,
the corresponding sliding distance is 21 mm, and the dynamic range is 0–20 mm.
The fourth-generation transducer can measure the movement direction of
loadings, thus making this transducer applicable for landslide monitoring. 2014/08/15 - 08:37

Palaeoclimate and palaeoseismic events discovered in Diexi barrier lake on the Minjiang River, ChinaNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2069-2078, 2014Author(s): X. Q. Wang, Y. R. Li, Y. Yuan, Z. Zhou, and L. S. WangStudies on the formation of the ancient Diexi barrier lake on the
Mingjiang River, southwestern China, have long been carried out.
However, investigations into the correlation between the
palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment and the palaeoseismic events in
this area are rarely found in literature. The present study took
sediments from the ancient Diexi barrier lake to investigate the
palaeoclimate, palaeoenvironment and palaeoseismic events. A drilling
at the centre of the barrier lake was conducted and the core of
about 260 m long was examined. The palaeoclimate and
palaeoenvironment indicators (sporopollen, carbon and oxygen
isotopes, organic matter, calcium carbonate, granularity) from the
sediments have been tested and analysed, and indicate that there
were 10 climatic and environmental periods between
30 000 and 15 000 a BP (before present). The discovered disturbance
segments in the core indicate there were at least 10 seismic events
during that period. The consistency between climate change and
seismic events indicates that a strong seismicity is normally
accompanied by a climatic variation. This may be a useful
supplement for climate and geohazard predictions in the future. 2014/08/15 - 08:37

Extreme storm surges: a comparative study of frequency analysis approachesNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2053-2067, 2014Author(s): Y. Hamdi, L. Bardet, C.-M. Duluc, and V. RebourIn France, nuclear facilities were designed around very low probabilities of
failure. Nevertheless, some extreme climatic events have given rise to
exceptional observed surges (outliers) much larger than other observations,
and have clearly illustrated the potential to underestimate the extreme water
levels calculated with the current statistical methods. The objective of the
present work is to conduct a comparative study of three approaches to extreme
value analysis, including the annual maxima (AM), the peaks-over-threshold
(POT) and the r-largest order statistics (r-LOS). These methods are
illustrated in a real analysis case study. All data sets were screened for
outliers. Non-parametric tests for randomness, homogeneity and stationarity
of time series were used. The shape and scale parameter stability plots, the
mean excess residual life plot and the stability of the standard errors of
return levels were used to select optimal thresholds and r values for the
POT and r-LOS method, respectively. The comparison of methods was based on
(i) the uncertainty degrees, (ii) the adequacy criteria and tests, and
(iii) the visual inspection. It was found that the r-LOS and POT methods
have reduced the uncertainty on the distribution parameters and return level
estimates and have systematically shown values of the 100 and 500-year return
levels smaller than those estimated with the AM method. Results have also
shown that none of the compared methods has allowed a good fit at the right
tail of the distribution in the presence of outliers. As a perspective, the
use of historical information was proposed in order to increase the
representativeness of outliers in data sets. Findings are of practical
relevance, not only to nuclear energy operators in France, for applications
in storm surge hazard analysis and flood management, but also for the optimal
planning and design of facilities to withstand extreme environmental
conditions, with an appropriate level of risk. 2014/08/15 - 08:37

On the clustering of winter storm loss events over GermanyNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2041-2052, 2014Author(s): M. K. Karremann, J. G. Pinto, P. J. von Bomhard, and M. KlawaDuring the last decades, several windstorm series hit Europe leading to large
aggregated losses. Such storm series are examples of serial clustering of
extreme cyclones, presenting a considerable risk for the insurance industry.
Clustering of events and return periods of storm series for Germany are
quantified based on potential losses using empirical models. Two reanalysis
data sets and observations from German weather stations are considered for
30 winters. Histograms of events exceeding selected return levels (1-, 2-
and 5-year) are derived. Return periods of historical storm series are
estimated based on the Poisson and the negative binomial distributions. Over
4000 years of general circulation model (GCM) simulations forced with current
climate conditions are analysed to provide a better assessment of historical
return periods. Estimations differ between distributions, for example 40 to
65 years for the 1990 series. For such less frequent series, estimates
obtained with the Poisson distribution clearly deviate from empirical data.
The negative binomial distribution provides better estimates, even though a
sensitivity to return level and data set is identified. The consideration of
GCM data permits a strong reduction of uncertainties. The present results
support the importance of considering explicitly clustering of losses for an
adequate risk assessment for economical applications. 2014/08/08 - 20:29

Flood analysis of the Limpopo River basin through past evolution reconstruction and a geomorphological approachNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2027-2039, 2014Author(s): M. Spaliviero, M. De Dapper, and S. MalóThis research reconstructs the past evolution of the Limpopo River, a
transboundary system located in south-eastern Africa, and describes its
geomorphological settings through a literature review and field work
activities, with the aim of analysing flood hazard in the basin. Major
changes have occurred since the late Jurassic–early Cretaceous period due to
successive tectonic events. The paper demonstrates that the apparently
abandoned drainage conformation of the palaeo-Limpopo in the upper and middle
stretches of the river today constitutes preferential flood-prone areas in
the case of major rainfall events. An important palaeo-delta is identified in
the lower Limpopo, which imposes a particular drainage pattern onto the
floodplain in Mozambique and influences the flood dynamics at present. The
adopted method is helpful in determining flood hazard in a data-scarce area
showing complex fluvial dynamics, and allows for the identification of
unsuitable locations for human settlements. 2014/08/08 - 20:29

Sensitivity of the WRF model to the lower boundary in an extreme precipitation event – Madeira island case studyNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 2009-2025, 2014Author(s): J. C. Teixeira, A. C. Carvalho, M. J. Carvalho, T. Luna, and A. RochaThe advances in satellite
technology in recent years have made feasible the acquisition of
high-resolution information on the Earth's surface. Examples of such
information include elevation and land use, which have become more detailed.
Including this information in numerical atmospheric models can improve their
results in simulating lower boundary forced events, by providing detailed
information on their characteristics. Consequently, this work aims to study
the sensitivity of the weather research and forecast (WRF) model to different
topography as well as land-use simulations in an extreme precipitation event.
The test case focused on a topographically driven precipitation event over
the island of Madeira, which triggered flash floods and mudslides in the
southern parts of the island. Difference fields between simulations were
computed, showing that the change in the data sets produced statistically
significant changes to the flow, the planetary boundary layer structure and
precipitation patterns. Moreover, model results show an improvement in model
skill in the windward region for precipitation and in the leeward region for
wind, in spite of the non-significant enhancement in the overall results with
higher-resolution data sets of topography and land use. 2014/08/06 - 21:42

Chlorophyll increases off the coasts of Japan after the 2011 tsunami using NASA/MODIS dataNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1999-2008, 2014Author(s): E. Sava, B. Edwards, and G. CervoneLarge chlorophyll anomalies are observed after the 2011 Japanese tsunami
using the NASA MODIS instrument onboard the TERRA and AQUA satellites. These
anomalies are observed both along the eastern coast of Japan, where the
tsunami wave hit with maximum force, and in the deep water surrounding the
epicentral region. Although both satellites show agreeing spatio-temporal
patterns, larger anomalies are detected using the AQUA satellite. A temporal
analysis shows increased chlorophyll concentrations immediately after the
tsunami, and higher values are observed for nearly one month before reversing
to pre-tsunami levels. 2014/08/06 - 21:42

The characteristics of lightning risk and zoning in Beijing simulated by a risk assessment modelNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1985-1997, 2014Author(s): H. Hu, J. Wang, and J. PanIn this study, the cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash/stroke density was
derived from the lightning location finder (LLF) data recorded between 2007
and 2011. The vulnerability of land surfaces was then assessed from the
classification of the study areas into buildings, outdoor areas under the
building canopy and open-field areas, which makes it convenient to deduce the
location factor and confirm the protective capability. Subsequently, the
potential number of dangerous lightning events at a location could be
estimated from the product of the CG stroke density and the location's
vulnerability. Although the human beings and all their material properties
are identically exposed to lightning, the lightning casualty risk and
property loss risk was assessed respectively due to their vulnerability
discrepancy. Our analysis of the CG flash density in Beijing revealed that
the valley of JuMaHe to the southwest, the ChangPing–ShunYi zone downwind of
the Beijing metropolis, and the mountainous PingGu–MiYun zone near the coast
are the most active lightning areas, with densities greater than
1.5 flashes km−2 year−1. Moreover, the mountainous
northeastern, northern, and northwestern rural areas are relatively more
vulnerable to lightning because the high-elevation terrain attracts lightning
and there is little protection. In contrast, lightning incidents by induced
lightning are most likely to occur in densely populated urban areas, and the
property damage caused by lightning here is more extensive than that in
suburban and rural areas. However, casualty incidents caused by direct
lightning strokes seldom occur in urban areas. On the other hand, the
simulation based on the lightning risk assessment model (LRAM) demonstrates
that the casualty risk is higher in rural areas, whereas the property loss
risk is higher in urban areas, and this conclusion is also supported by the
historical casualty and damage reports. 2014/08/06 - 21:42

MEDEX: a general overviewNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1965-1984, 2014Author(s): A. Jansa, P. Alpert, P. Arbogast, A. Buzzi, B. Ivancan-Picek, V. Kotroni, M. C. Llasat, C. Ramis, E. Richard, R. Romero, and A. SperanzaThe general objective of the international MEDiterranean
EXperiment (MEDEX) was the better understanding and forecasting of cyclones
that produce high impact weather in the Mediterranean. This paper reviews the
motivation and foundation of MEDEX, the gestation, history and organisation
of the project, as well as the main products and scientific achievements
obtained from it. MEDEX obtained the approval of World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and can be considered as
framed within other WMO actions, such as the ALPine EXperiment (ALPEX),
the Mediterranean Cyclones Study Project (MCP) and, to a certain extent,
THe Observing System Research and Predictability EXperiment (THORPEX) and the
HYdrological cycle in Mediterranean EXperiment (HyMeX). Through two phases (2000–2005 and 2006–2010), MEDEX has
produced a specific database, with information about cyclones and severe or
high impact weather events, several main reports and a specific data targeting system field
campaign (DTS-MEDEX-2009). The scientific achievements are significant in
fields like climatology, dynamical understanding of the physical processes
and social impact of cyclones, as well as in aspects related to the location
of sensitive zones for individual cases, the climatology of sensitivity zones
and the improvement of the forecasts through innovative methods like
mesoscale ensemble prediction systems. 2014/08/06 - 21:42

Statistical correlation between meteorological and rockfall databasesNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1953-1964, 2014Author(s): A. Delonca, Y. Gunzburger, and T. VerdelRockfalls are a major and essentially unpredictable sources of danger,
particularly along transportation routes (roads and railways). Thus, the
assessment of their probability of occurrence is a major challenge for risk
management. From a qualitative perspective, it is known that rockfalls occur
mainly during periods of rain, snowmelt, or freeze–thaw. Nevertheless, from
a quantitative perspective, these generally assumed correlations between
rockfalls and their possible meteorological triggering events are often
difficult to identify because (i) rockfalls are too rare for the use of
classical statistical analysis techniques and (ii) not all intensities of
triggering factors have the same probability. In this study, we
propose a new approach for investigating the correlation of rockfalls with
rain, freezing periods, and strong temperature variations. This approach is
tested on three French rockfall databases, the first of which exhibits a
high frequency of rockfalls (approximately 950 events over 11 years),
whereas the other two databases are more typical (approximately 140 events
over 11 years). These databases come from (1) national highway RN1 on Réunion, (2) a railway in Burgundy, and (3) a railway
in Auvergne. Whereas a basic correlation analysis is only able to
highlight an already obvious correlation in the case of the "rich"
database, the newly suggested method appears to detect correlations even in
the "poor" databases. Indeed, the use of this method confirms the positive
correlation between rainfall and rockfalls in the Réunion database.
This method highlights a correlation between cumulative rainfall and
rockfalls in Burgundy, and it detects a correlation between the
daily minimum temperature and rockfalls in the Auvergne database. This new
approach is easy to use and also serves to determine the conditional
probability of rockfall according to a given meteorological factor. The
approach will help to optimize risk management in the studied areas based on
their meteorological conditions. 2014/08/04 - 14:29

Modelling of cave-in occurrence using AHP and GISNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1945-1951, 2014Author(s): A. A. Malinowska and K. DziarekThe analysis of mining-induced sinkholes occurrence is a very important
issue as far as the spatial development optimization is concerned.
Research conducted for this paper was focussed on examining the
applicability of GIS and the associated AHP method (analytic hierarchy
process) for estimating the risk of discontinuous deformation occurrence on
the surface. Qualitative factors were accounted for in the sinkhole risk
assessment, thus creating bases for the research. These elements play an
important role in the process of sinkholes formation; however, they were not
used in prediction models. Another assumption lay in minimizing the number
of variables in the model. Accordingly, the most important qualitative and
quantitative risk factors were finally selected on the basis of whether the
risk of cave-ins occurrence on the surface could be calculated. The results
of the estimation of potential sinkhole zones were verified. The locations
of actual and high-risk potential discontinuous deformation were compared.
The congruence between predicted values and the actual observations of sinkholes
was very high. The results of research presented prove the necessity to
evaluate sinkhole hazards in view of qualitative factors. 2014/08/01 - 16:54

Corrigendum to "Assessment of tsunami hazards for the Central American Pacific coast from southern Mexico to northern Peru" published in Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1889–1903, 2014Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1943-1943, 2014Author(s): B. Brizuela, A. Armigliato, and S. TintiNo abstract available. 2014/08/01 - 16:54

Floods and climate: emerging perspectives for flood risk assessment and managementNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1921-1942, 2014Author(s): B. Merz, J. Aerts, K. Arnbjerg-Nielsen, M. Baldi, A. Becker, A. Bichet, G. Blöschl, L. M. Bouwer, A. Brauer, F. Cioffi, J. M. Delgado, M. Gocht, F. Guzzetti, S. Harrigan, K. Hirschboeck, C. Kilsby, W. Kron, H.-H. Kwon, U. Lall, R. Merz, K. Nissen, P. Salvatti, T. Swierczynski, U. Ulbrich, A. Viglione, P. J. Ward, M. Weiler, B. Wilhelm, and M. NiedFlood estimation and flood management have traditionally been the domain of
hydrologists, water resources engineers and statisticians, and disciplinary
approaches abound. Dominant views have been shaped; one example is the
catchment perspective: floods are formed and influenced by the interaction
of local, catchment-specific characteristics, such as meteorology,
topography and geology. These traditional views have been beneficial, but
they have a narrow framing. In this paper we contrast traditional views with
broader perspectives that are emerging from an improved understanding of the
climatic context of floods. We come to the following conclusions: (1) extending the traditional
system boundaries (local catchment, recent decades, hydrological/hydraulic
processes) opens up exciting possibilities for better understanding and
improved tools for flood risk assessment and management. (2) Statistical
approaches in flood estimation need to be complemented by the search for the
causal mechanisms and dominant processes in the atmosphere, catchment and
river system that leave their fingerprints on flood characteristics.
(3) Natural climate variability leads to time-varying flood characteristics, and
this variation may be partially quantifiable and predictable, with the
perspective of dynamic, climate-informed flood risk management.
(4) Efforts are needed to fully account for factors that contribute to changes
in all three risk components (hazard, exposure, vulnerability) and to
better understand the interactions between society and floods. (5) Given the
global scale and societal importance, we call for the organization of an
international multidisciplinary collaboration and data-sharing initiative to
further understand the links between climate and flooding and to advance
flood research. 2014/08/01 - 16:54

Numerical modeling and analysis of the effect of complex Greek topography on tornadogenesisNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1905-1919, 2014Author(s): I. T. Matsangouras, I. Pytharoulis, and P. T. NastosTornadoes have been reported in Greece over recent decades in specific
sub-geographical areas and have been associated with strong synoptic forcing.
While it has been established that meteorological conditions over Greece are
affected at various scales by the significant variability of topography, the
Ionian Sea to the west and the Aegean Sea to the east, there is still
uncertainty regarding topography's importance on tornadic generation and

The aim of this study is to investigate the role of topography in significant
tornadogenesis events that were triggered under strong synoptic scale forcing
over Greece. Three tornado events that occurred over the last years in Thebes
(Boeotia, 17 November 2007), Vrastema (Chalkidiki, 12 February 2010) and
Vlychos (Lefkada, 20 September 2011) were selected for numerical experiments.
These events were associated with synoptic scale forcing, while their
intensities were T4–T5 (on the TORRO scale), causing significant damage. The
simulations were performed using the non-hydrostatic weather research and
forecasting model (WRF), initialized by European Centre for Medium-Range
Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) gridded analyses, with telescoping nested grids
that allow for the representation of atmospheric circulations ranging from
the synoptic scale down to the mesoscale. In the experiments, the topography
of the inner grid was modified by: (a) 0% (actual topography) and
(b) −100% (without topography), making an effort to determine whether
the occurrence of tornadoes – mainly identified by various severe weather
instability indices – could be indicated by modifying topography. The
principal instability variables employed consisted of the bulk Richardson
number (BRN) shear, the energy helicity index (EHI), the storm-relative
environmental helicity (SRH), and the maximum convective available potential
energy (MCAPE, for parcels with maximum θe). Additionally, a model
verification was conducted for every sensitivity experiment accompanied by
analysis of the absolute vorticity budget.

Numerical simulations revealed that the complex topography constituted an
important factor during the 17 November 2007 and 12 February 2010 events,
based on EHI, SRH, BRN, and MCAPE analyses. Conversely, topography around the
20 September 2011 event was characterized as the least significant factor
based on EHI, SRH, BRN, and MCAPE analyses. 2014/08/01 - 16:54

Assessment of tsunami hazards for the Central American Pacific coast from southern Mexico to northern PeruNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1889-1903, 2014Author(s): B. Brizuela, A. Armigliato, and S. TintiCentral America (CA), from Guatemala to Panama, has been struck by at least
52 tsunamis between 1539 and 2013, and in the extended region from Mexico to
northern Peru (denoted as ECA, Extended Central America in this paper) the
number of recorded tsunamis in the same time span is more than 100, most of
which were triggered by earthquakes located in the Middle American Trench
that runs parallel to the Pacific coast. The most severe event in the
catalogue is the tsunami that occurred on 2 September 1992 off Nicaragua,
with run-up measured in the range of 5–10 m in several places along the
Nicaraguan coast. The aim of this paper is to assess the tsunami hazard on
the Pacific coast of this extended region, and to this purpose a hybrid
probabilistic-deterministic analysis is performed, that is adequate for
tsunamis generated by earthquakes. More specifically, the probabilistic
approach is used to compute the Gutenberg–Richter coefficients of the main
seismic tsunamigenic zones of the area and to estimate the annual rate of
occurrence of tsunamigenic earthquakes and their corresponding return period.
The output of the probabilistic part of the method is taken as input by the
deterministic part, which is applied to calculate the tsunami run-up
distribution along the coast. 2014/07/29 - 12:35

An interdisciplinary approach to volcanic risk reduction under conditions of uncertainty: a case study of Tristan da CunhaNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1871-1887, 2014Author(s): A. Hicks, J. Barclay, P. Simmons, and S. LoughlinThe uncertainty brought about by intermittent volcanic activity is fairly
common at volcanoes worldwide. While better knowledge of any one volcano's
behavioural characteristics has the potential to reduce this uncertainty,
the subsequent reduction of risk from volcanic threats is only realised if
that knowledge is pertinent to stakeholders and effectively communicated to
inform good decision making. Success requires integration of methods, skills
and expertise across disciplinary boundaries.

This research project develops and trials a novel interdisciplinary approach
to volcanic risk reduction on the remote volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha
(South Atlantic). For the first time, volcanological techniques,
probabilistic decision support and social scientific methods were integrated
in a single study. New data were produced that (1) established no
spatio-temporal pattern to recent volcanic activity; (2) quantified the high
degree of scientific uncertainty around future eruptive scenarios;
(3) analysed the physical vulnerability of the community as a consequence of
their geographical isolation and exposure to volcanic hazards; (4) evaluated
social and cultural influences on vulnerability and resilience; and
(5) evaluated the effectiveness of a scenario planning approach, both as a
method for integrating the different strands of the research and as a way of
enabling on-island decision makers to take ownership of risk identification
and management, and capacity building within their community.

The paper provides empirical evidence of the value of an innovative
interdisciplinary framework for reducing volcanic risk. It also provides
evidence for the strength that comes from integrating social and physical
sciences with the development of effective, tailored engagement and
communication strategies in volcanic risk reduction. 2014/07/29 - 12:35

Long-term volcanic hazard assessment on El Hierro (Canary Islands)Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1853-1870, 2014Author(s): L. Becerril, S. Bartolini, R. Sobradelo, J. Martí, J. M. Morales, and I. GalindoLong-term hazard assessment, one of the bastions of risk-mitigation programs,
is required for land-use planning and for developing emergency plans. To
ensure quality and representative results, long-term volcanic hazard
assessment requires several sequential steps to be completed, which include
the compilation of geological and volcanological information, the
characterisation of past eruptions, spatial and temporal probabilistic
studies, and the simulation of different eruptive scenarios. Despite being a
densely populated active volcanic region that receives millions of visitors
per year, no systematic hazard assessment has ever been conducted on the
Canary Islands. In this paper we focus our attention on El Hierro, the
youngest of the Canary Islands and the most recently affected by an eruption.
We analyse the past eruptive activity to determine the spatial and temporal
probability, and likely style of a future eruption on the island, i.e. the
where, when and how. By studying the past eruptive behaviour of the island
and assuming that future eruptive patterns will be similar, we aim to
identify the most likely volcanic scenarios and corresponding hazards, which
include lava flows, pyroclastic fallout and pyroclastic density currents
(PDCs). Finally, we estimate their probability of occurrence. The end result,
through the combination of the most probable scenarios (lava flows,
pyroclastic density currents and ashfall), is the first qualitative
integrated volcanic hazard map of the island. 2014/07/29 - 12:35

The role of different factors related to social impact of heavy rain events: considerations about the intensity thresholds in densely populated areasNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1843-1852, 2014Author(s): L. Barbería, J. Amaro, M. Aran, and M. C. LlasatIn the assessment of social impact caused by meteorological events, factors
of different natures need to be considered. Not only does hazard itself
determine the impact that a severe weather event has on society, but also
other features related to vulnerability and exposure.

The requests of data related to insurance claims received in meteorological
services proved to be a good indicator of the social impact that a weather
event causes, according to studies carried out by the Social Impact Research
Group, created within the framework of the MEDEX project. Taking these
requests as proxy data, diverse aspects connected to the impact of heavy rain
events have been studied.

The rainfall intensity, in conjunction with the population density, has
established itself as one of the key factors in social impact studies. One of
the conclusions we obtained is that various thresholds of rainfall should be
applied for areas of varying populations. In this study, the role of rainfall
intensity has been analysed for a highly populated urban area like Barcelona.
A period without significant population changes has been selected for the
study to minimise the effects linked to vulnerability and exposure
modifications. First, correlations between rainfall recorded in different
time intervals and requests were carried out. Afterwards, a method to include
the intensity factor in the social impact index was suggested based on return
periods given by intensity–duration–frequency (IDF) curves. 2014/07/26 - 13:40

Brief Communication: Rapid mapping of landslide events: the 3 December 2013 Montescaglioso landslide, ItalyNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1835-1841, 2014Author(s): A. Manconi, F. Casu, F. Ardizzone, M. Bonano, M. Cardinali, C. De Luca, E. Gueguen, I. Marchesini, M. Parise, C. Vennari, R. Lanari, and F. GuzzettiWe present an approach to measure 3-D surface deformations caused by large,
rapid-moving landslides using the amplitude information of high-resolution,
X-band synthetic aperture
radar (SAR) images. We exploit SAR data captured by the COSMO-SkyMed
satellites to measure the deformation produced by the 3 December 2013
Montescaglioso landslide, southern Italy. The deformation produced by the
deep-seated landslide exceeded 10 m and caused the disruption of a
main road, a few homes and commercial buildings. The results open up the
possibility of obtaining 3-D surface deformation maps shortly after the
occurrence of large, rapid-moving landslides using high-resolution SAR data. 2014/07/26 - 13:40

Estimation of synthetic flood design hydrographs using a distributed rainfall–runoff model coupled with a copula-based single storm rainfall generatorNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1819-1833, 2014Author(s): A. Candela, G. Brigandì, and G. T. AronicaIn this paper a procedure to derive synthetic flood design hydrographs (SFDH)
using a bivariate representation of rainfall forcing (rainfall duration and
intensity) via copulas, which describes and models the correlation between
two variables independently of the marginal laws involved, coupled with a
distributed rainfall–runoff model, is presented. Rainfall–runoff modelling
(R–R modelling) for estimating the hydrological response at the outlet of a
catchment was performed by using a conceptual fully distributed procedure
based on the Soil Conservation Service – Curve Number method as an excess
rainfall model and on a distributed unit hydrograph with climatic
dependencies for the flow routing. Travel time computation, based on the
distributed unit hydrograph definition, was performed by implementing a
procedure based on flow paths, determined from a digital elevation model
(DEM) and roughness parameters obtained from distributed geographical
information. In order to estimate the primary return period of the SFDH,
which provides the probability of occurrence of a hydrograph flood, peaks and
flow volumes obtained through R–R modelling were treated statistically using copulas. Finally, the shapes of
hydrographs have been generated on the basis of historically significant
flood events, via cluster analysis.

An application of the procedure described above has been carried out and results presented for the case study of
the Imera catchment in Sicily, Italy. 2014/07/25 - 05:37

Landslides triggered by the 12 January 2010 Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mw = 7.0 earthquake: visual interpretation, inventory compiling, and spatial distribution statistical analysisNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1789-1818, 2014Author(s): C. Xu, J. B. H. Shyu, and X. XuThe 12 January 2010 Port-au-Prince, Haiti, earthquake (Mw= 7.0) triggered
tens of thousands of landslides. The purpose of this study is to investigate
the correlations of the occurrence of landslides and the thicknesses of their erosion
with topographic, geologic, and seismic parameters. A total of
30 828 landslides triggered by the earthquake covered a total area of 15.736 km2,
distributed in an area more than 3000 km2, and the volume of
landslide accumulation materials is estimated to be about 29 700 000 m3.
These landslides are of various types, mostly belonging to shallow disrupted landslides and rock falls, but also include coherent deep-seated
landslides and rock slides. These landslides were delineated using pre- and
post-earthquake high-resolution satellite images. Spatial distribution maps
and contour maps of landslide number density, landslide area percentage, and
landslide erosion thickness were constructed in order to analyze the spatial
distribution patterns of co-seismic landslides. Statistics of size
distribution and morphometric parameters of co-seismic landslides were
carried out and were compared with other earthquake events in the world.
Four proxies of co-seismic landslide abundance, including landslides
centroid number density (LCND), landslide top number density (LTND),
landslide area percentage (LAP), and landslide erosion thickness (LET) were
used to correlate co-seismic landslides with various environmental
parameters. These parameters include elevation, slope angle, slope aspect,
slope curvature, topographic position, distance from drainages, lithology,
distance from the epicenter, distance from the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden
fault, distance along the fault, and peak ground acceleration (PGA). A
comparison of these impact parameters on co-seismic landslides shows that
slope angle is the strongest impact parameter on co-seismic landslide
occurrence. Our co-seismic landslide inventory is much more detailed than
other inventories in several previous publications. Therefore, we carried
out comparisons of inventories of landslides triggered by the Haiti
earthquake with other published results and proposed possible reasons for any
differences. We suggest that the empirical functions between earthquake
magnitude and co-seismic landslides need to be updated on the basis of the
abundant and more complete co-seismic landslide inventories recently available. 2014/07/22 - 17:30

Investigating the influence of topographic irregularities and two-dimensional effects on surface ground motion intensity with one- and two-dimensional analysesNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1773-1788, 2014Author(s): G. Ç. İnce and L. YılmazoğluIn this work, the surface ground motion that occurs during an earthquake in
ground sections having different topographic forms has been examined with one
and two dynamic site response analyses. One-dimensional analyses were
undertaken using the Equivalent-Linear Earthquake Response Analysis (EERA)
program based on the equivalent linear analysis principle and the Deepsoil
program which is able to make both equivalent linear and nonlinear analyses
and two-dimensional analyses using the Plaxis 8.2 software. The viscous
damping parameters used in the dynamic site response analyses undertaken with
the Plaxis 8.2 software were obtained using the DeepSoil program. In the
dynamic site response analyses, the synthetic acceleration over a 475-year
return period representing the earthquakes in Istanbul was used as the basis
of the bedrock ground motion. The peak ground acceleration obtained different
depths of soils and acceleration spectrum values have been compared. The
surface topography and layer boundaries in the 5-5' cross section which
cuts across the study area west to east were selected in order to examine the
effect of the land topography and layer boundaries on the analysis results,
and were flattened and compared with the actual status. The analysis results
showed that the characteristics of the surface ground motion change in
relation to the varying local soil conditions and land topography. 2014/07/20 - 00:14

Soil erosion in an avalanche release site (Valle d'Aosta: Italy): towards a winter factor for RUSLE in the AlpsNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1761-1771, 2014Author(s): S. Stanchi, M. Freppaz, E. Ceaglio, M. Maggioni, K. Meusburger, C. Alewell, and E. ZaniniSoil erosion in Alpine areas is mainly related to extreme topographic and
weather conditions. Although different methods of assessing soil erosion
exist, the knowledge of erosive forces of the snow cover needs more
investigation in order to allow soil erosion modeling in areas where the snow
lays on the ground for several months. This study aims to assess whether the
RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation) empirical prediction model,
which gives an estimation of water erosion in t ha yr−1 obtained from
a combination of five factors (rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility,
topography, soil cover, protection practices) can be applied to mountain
areas by introducing a winter factor (W), which should account for the soil
erosion occurring in winter time by the snow cover. The W factor is
calculated from the ratio of Ceasium-137 (137Cs) to RUSLE erosion rates.
Ceasium-137 is another possible way of assessing soil erosion rates in the
field. In contrast to RUSLE, it not only provides water-induced erosion but
integrates all erosion agents involved. Thus, we hypothesize that in mountain
areas the difference between the two approaches is related to the soil
erosion by snow. In this study we compared 137Cs-based measurement of
soil redistribution and soil loss estimated with RUSLE in a mountain slope
affected by avalanches, in order to assess the relative importance of winter
erosion processes such as snow gliding and full-depth avalanches. Three
subareas were considered: DS, avalanche defense structures, RA, release area,
and TA, track area, characterized by different prevalent winter processes.
The RUSLE estimates and the 137Cs redistribution gave significantly
different results. The resulting ranges of W evidenced relevant differences
in the role of winter erosion in the considered subareas, and the application
of an avalanche simulation model corroborated these findings. Thus, the
higher rates obtained with the 137Cs method confirmed the relevant role
of winter soil erosion. Despite the limited sample size (11 points), the
inclusion of a W factor in RUSLE seems promising for the improvement of
soil erosion estimates in Alpine environments affected by snow movements. 2014/07/16 - 17:37

Soil erosion in an avalanche release site (Valle d'Aosta: Italy): towards a winter factor for RUSLE in the AlpsNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1761-1771, 2014Author(s): S. Stanchi, M. Freppaz, E. Ceaglio, M. Maggioni, K. Meusburger, C. Alewell, and E. ZaniniSoil erosion in Alpine areas is mainly related to extreme topographic and
weather conditions. Although different methods of assessing soil erosion
exist, the knowledge of erosive forces of the snow cover needs more
investigation in order to allow soil erosion modeling in areas where the snow
lays on the ground for several months. This study aims to assess whether the
RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation) empirical prediction model,
which gives an estimation of water erosion in t ha yr−1 obtained from
a combination of five factors (rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility,
topography, soil cover, protection practices) can be applied to mountain
areas by introducing a winter factor (W), which should account for the soil
erosion occurring in winter time by the snow cover. The W factor is
calculated from the ratio of Ceasium-137 (137Cs) to RUSLE erosion rates.
Ceasium-137 is another possible way of assessing soil erosion rates in the
field. In contrast to RUSLE, it not only provides water-induced erosion but
integrates all erosion agents involved. Thus, we hypothesize that in mountain
areas the difference between the two approaches is related to the soil
erosion by snow. In this study we compared 137Cs-based measurement of
soil redistribution and soil loss estimated with RUSLE in a mountain slope
affected by avalanches, in order to assess the relative importance of winter
erosion processes such as snow gliding and full-depth avalanches. Three
subareas were considered: DS, avalanche defense structures, RA, release area,
and TA, track area, characterized by different prevalent winter processes.
The RUSLE estimates and the 137Cs redistribution gave significantly
different results. The resulting ranges of W evidenced relevant differences
in the role of winter erosion in the considered subareas, and the application
of an avalanche simulation model corroborated these findings. Thus, the
higher rates obtained with the 137Cs method confirmed the relevant role
of winter soil erosion. Despite the limited sample size (11 points), the
inclusion of a W factor in RUSLE seems promising for the improvement of
soil erosion estimates in Alpine environments affected by snow movements. 2014/07/16 - 17:37

Comparison of event landslide inventories: the Pogliaschina catchment test case, ItalyNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1749-1759, 2014Author(s): A. C. Mondini, A. Viero, M. Cavalli, L. Marchi, G. Herrera, and F. GuzzettiEvent landslide inventory maps document the extent of populations of
landslides caused by a single natural trigger, such as an earthquake, an
intense rainfall event, or a rapid snowmelt event. Event inventory maps are
important for landslide susceptibility and hazard modelling, and prove useful
to manage residual risk after a landslide-triggering event. Standards for the
preparation of event landslide inventory maps are lacking. Traditional
methods are based on the visual interpretation of stereoscopic aerial
photography, aided by field surveys. New and emerging techniques exploit
remotely sensed data and semi-automatic algorithms. We describe the
production and comparison of two independent event inventories prepared for
the Pogliaschina catchment, Liguria, Northwest Italy. The two inventories show
landslides triggered by an intense rainfall event on 25 October 2011, and
were prepared through the visual interpretation of digital aerial photographs
taken 3 days and 33 days after the event, and by processing a
very-high-resolution image taken by the WorldView-2 satellite 4 days after
the event. We compare the two inventories qualitatively and quantitatively
using established and new metrics, and we discuss reasons for the differences
between the two landslide maps. We expect that the results of our work can
help in deciding on the most appropriate method to prepare reliable event
inventory maps, and outline the advantages and the limitations of the
different approaches. 2014/07/15 - 13:18

Evaluating the effectiveness of flood damage mitigation measures by the application of propensity score matchingNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1731-1747, 2014Author(s): P. Hudson, W. J. W. Botzen, H. Kreibich, P. Bubeck, and J. C. J. H. AertsThe employment of damage mitigation measures (DMMs) by individuals is an important
component of integrated flood risk management. In order to promote efficient
damage mitigation measures, accurate estimates of their damage mitigation
potential are required. That is, for correctly assessing the damage
mitigation measures' effectiveness from survey data, one needs to control for
sources of bias. A biased estimate can occur if risk characteristics differ
between individuals who have, or have not, implemented mitigation measures.
This study removed this bias by applying an econometric evaluation technique
called propensity score matching (PSM) to a survey of German households along three
major rivers that were flooded in 2002, 2005, and 2006. The application of
this method detected substantial overestimates of mitigation measures'
effectiveness if bias is not controlled for, ranging from nearly
EUR 1700 to 15 000 per measure. Bias-corrected effectiveness
estimates of several mitigation measures show that these measures are still
very effective since they prevent between EUR 6700 and 14 000 of
flood damage per flood event. This study concludes with four main
recommendations regarding how to better apply propensity score matching in
future studies, and makes several policy recommendations. 2014/07/15 - 13:18

Discharge of landslide-induced debris flows: case studies of Typhoon Morakot in southern TaiwanNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1719-1730, 2014Author(s): J.-C. Chen and M.-R. ChuangThree debris-flow gullies, the Hong-Shui-Xian (HSX),
Sha-Xin-Kai (SXK), and Xin-Kai-Dafo (XKD) gullies, located in the Shinfa area
of southern Taiwan, were selected as case studies on the discharge of
landslide-induced debris flows caused by Typhoon Morakot in 2009. The
inundation characteristics of the three debris flows, such as the debris-flow
volume V, deposition area Ad, and maximum flow depth, were
collected by field investigations and simulated using the numerical modeling
software FLO-2D. The discharge coefficient cb, defined as the
ratio of the debris-flow discharge Qdp to the water-flow discharge
Qwp, was proposed to determine Qdp, and Qwp
was estimated by a rational equation. Then, cb was calibrated by
a comparison between the field investigation and the numerical simulation of
the inundation characteristics of debris flows. Our results showed that the
values of cb range from 6 to 18, and their values are affected
by the landslide ratio RL. Empirical relationships for
cb versus RL, Qdp versus Qwp,
Qdp versus V, and Ad versus V are also presented. 2014/07/15 - 13:18

A hybrid model for mapping simplified seismic response via a GIS-metamodel approachNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1703-1718, 2014Author(s): G. Grelle, L. Bonito, P. Revellino, L. Guerriero, and F. M. GuadagnoIn earthquake-prone areas, site seismic response due to
lithostratigraphic sequence plays a key role in seismic hazard assessment. A
hybrid model, consisting of GIS and metamodel (model of model) procedures,
was introduced aimed at estimating the 1-D spatial seismic site response in
accordance with spatial variability of sediment parameters. Inputs and
outputs are provided and processed by means of an appropriate GIS model,
named GIS Cubic Model (GCM). This consists of a block-layered parametric
structure aimed at resolving a predicted metamodel by means of pixel to
pixel vertical computing. The metamodel, opportunely calibrated, is able to
emulate the classic shape of the spectral acceleration response in relation
to the main physical parameters that characterize the spectrum itself.
Therefore, via the GCM structure and the metamodel, the hybrid model
provides maps of normalized acceleration response spectra. The hybrid model
was applied and tested on the built-up area of the San Giorgio del Sannio
village, located in a high-risk seismic zone of southern Italy. Efficiency
tests showed a good correspondence between the spectral values resulting
from the proposed approach and the 1-D physical computational models.
Supported by lithology and geophysical data and corresponding accurate
interpretation regarding modelling, the hybrid model can be an efficient
tool in assessing urban planning seismic hazard/risk. 2014/07/15 - 13:18

Atmospheric processes triggering the central European floods in June 2013Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1691-1702, 2014Author(s): C. M. Grams, H. Binder, S. Pfahl, N. Piaget, and H. WernliIn June 2013, central Europe was hit by a century flood affecting the
Danube and Elbe catchments after a 4 day period of heavy
precipitation and causing severe human and economic loss. In this
study model analysis and observational data are investigated to
reveal the key atmospheric processes that caused the heavy
precipitation event. The period preceding the flood was
characterised by a weather regime associated with cool and unusual
wet conditions resulting from repeated Rossby wave breaking
(RWB). During the event a single RWB established a reversed
baroclinicity in the low to mid-troposphere in central Europe with
cool air trapped over the Alps and warmer air to the north. The
upper-level cut-off resulting from the RWB instigated three
consecutive cyclones in eastern Europe that unusually tracked
westward during the days of heavy precipitation. Continuous
large-scale slantwise ascent in so-called "equatorward ascending"
warm conveyor belts (WCBs) associated with these cyclones is found
as the key process that caused the 4 day heavy precipitation
period. Fed by moisture sources from continental evapotranspiration,
these WCBs unusually ascended equatorward along the southward
sloping moist isentropes. Although "equatorward ascending" WCBs
are climatologically rare events, they have great potential for
causing high impact weather. 2014/07/05 - 14:14

Deformation information system for facilitating studies of mining-ground deformations, development, and applicationsNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1677-1689, 2014Author(s): J. Blachowski, W. Milczarek, and P. StefaniakThe paper presents the concept of the deformation information system (DIS) to
support and facilitate studies of mining-ground deformations. The proposed
modular structure of the system includes data collection and data
visualisation components, as well as spatial data mining, modelling and
classification modules. In addition, the system integrates interactive
three-dimensional models of the mines and local geology. The system is used
to calculate various parameters characterising ground deformation in space
and time, i.e. vertical and horizontal displacement fields, deformation
parameters (tilt, curvature, and horizontal strain) and input spatial
variables for spatial data classifications. The core of the system in the
form of an integrated spatial and attributive database has been described.
The development stages and the functionality of the particular components
have been presented and example analyses utilising the spatial data mining
and modelling functions have been shown. These include, among other things,
continuous vertical and horizontal displacement field interpolations,
calculation of parameters characterising mining-ground deformations,
mining-ground category classifications, data extraction procedures and data
preparation preprocessing procedures for analyses in external applications.

The DIS has been developed for the Walbrzych coal mines area in SW Poland
where long-time mining activity ended at the end of the 20th century
and surface monitoring is necessary to study the present-day condition of the
former mining grounds. 2014/07/05 - 14:14

A simple model for the estimation of the number of fatalities due to floods in central EuropeNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1663-1676, 2014Author(s): M. Brazdova and J. RihaIn this paper a model for the estimation of the number of potential
fatalities is proposed based on data from 19 past floods in central Europe.
First, the factors contributing to human losses during river floods are
listed and assigned to the main risk factors: hazard – exposure –
vulnerability. The order of significance of individual factors has been
compiled by pairwise comparison based on experience with real flood events. A
comparison with factors used in existing models for the estimation of
fatalities during floods shows good agreement with the significant factors
identified in this study. The most significant factors affecting the number
of human losses in floods have been aggregated into three groups and
subjected to correlation analysis. A close-fitting regression dependence is
proposed for the estimation of loss of life and calibrated using data from
selected real floods in central Europe. The application of the proposed model
for the estimation of fatalities due to river floods is shown via a flood
risk assessment for the locality of Krnov in the Czech Republic. 2014/07/05 - 14:14

Streamflow simulation methods for ungauged and poorly gauged watershedsNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1641-1661, 2014Author(s): A. Loukas and L. VasiliadesRainfall–runoff modelling procedures for ungauged and poorly gauged
watersheds are developed in this study. A well-established hydrological
model, the University of British Columbia (UBC) watershed model, is selected
and applied in five different river basins located in Canada, Cyprus, and
Pakistan. Catchments from cold, temperate, continental, and semiarid climate
zones are included to demonstrate the procedures developed. Two methodologies
for streamflow modelling are proposed and analysed. The first method uses
the UBC watershed model with a universal set of parameters for water
allocation and flow routing, and precipitation gradients estimated from the
available annual precipitation data as well as from regional information on
the distribution of orographic precipitation. This method is proposed for
watersheds without streamflow gauge data and limited meteorological station
data. The second hybrid method proposes the coupling of UBC watershed model
with artificial neural networks (ANNs) and is intended for use in poorly
gauged watersheds which have limited streamflow measurements. The two
proposed methods have been applied to five mountainous watersheds with
largely varying climatic, physiographic, and hydrological characteristics.
The evaluation of the applied methods is based on the combination of graphical
results, statistical evaluation metrics, and normalized goodness-of-fit
statistics. The results show that the first method satisfactorily simulates
the observed hydrograph assuming that the basins are ungauged. When limited
streamflow measurements are available, the coupling of ANNs with the
regional, non-calibrated UBC flow model components is considered a successful
alternative method to the conventional calibration of a hydrological model
based on the evaluation criteria employed for streamflow modelling and flood
frequency estimation. 2014/07/02 - 13:15

Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses in seismic risk assessments on the example of Cologne, GermanyNatural Hazards and Earth System Science, 14, 1625-1640, 2014Author(s): S. Tyagunov, M. Pittore, M. Wieland, S. Parolai, D. Bindi, K. Fleming, and J. ZschauBoth aleatory and epistemic uncertainties associated with different sources
and components of risk (hazard, exposure, vulnerability) are present at each
step of seismic risk assessments. All individual sources of uncertainty
contribute to the total uncertainty, which might be very high and, within
the decision-making context, may therefore lead to either very conservative
and expensive decisions or the perception of considerable risk. When
anatomizing the structure of the total uncertainty, it is therefore
important to propagate the different individual uncertainties through the
computational chain and to quantify their contribution to the total value of
risk. The present study analyses different uncertainties associated with the
hazard, vulnerability and loss components by the use of logic trees. The
emphasis is on the analysis of epistemic uncertainties, which represent the
reducible part of the total uncertainty, including a sensitivity analysis of
the resulting seismic risk assessments with regard to the different
uncertainty sources. This investigation, being a part of the EU FP7 project
MATRIX (New Multi-Hazard and Multi-Risk Assessment Methods for Europe), is
carried out for the example of, and with reference to, the conditions of the
city of Cologne, Germany, which is one of the MATRIX test cases. At the same
time, this particular study does not aim to revise nor to refine the hazard
and risk level for Cologne; it is rather to show how large are the existing
uncertainties and how they can influence seismic risk estimates, especially
in less well-studied areas, if hazard and risk models adapted from other
regions are used. 2014/06/28 - 12:12