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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-250
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 21 Aug 2017

Review article | 21 Aug 2017

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.

Epistemic uncertainties and natural hazard risk assessment. 1. A review of different natural hazard areas

Keith J. Beven1,2, Susana Almeida3, Willy P. Aspinall4, Paul D. Bates5, Sarka Blazkova6, Edoardo Borgomeo7, Katsu Goda3, Jim W. Hall7, Jeremy C. Phillips4, Michael Simpson7, Paul J. Smith1,8, David B. Stephenson9, Thorsten Wagener3,10, Matt Watson4, and Kate L. Wilkins4 Keith J. Beven et al.
  • 1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3Department of Civil Engineering, Bristol University, Bristol, UK
  • 4School of Earth Sciences, Bristol University, Bristol, UK
  • 5School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol University, Bristol, UK
  • 6T. G. Masaryk Water Resource Institute, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 7Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, UK
  • 8European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Reading, UK
  • 9Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Exeter University, Exeter, UK
  • 10Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, UK

Abstract. This paper discusses how epistemic uncertainties are considered in a number of different natural hazard areas including floods, landslides and debris flows, dam safety, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic ash clouds and pyroclastic flows, and wind storms. In each case it is common practice to treat most uncertainties in the form of aleatory probability distributions but this may lead to an underestimation of the resulting uncertainties in assessing the hazard, consequences and risk. It is suggested that such analyses might be usefully extended by looking at different scenarios of assumptions about sources of epistemic uncertainty, with a view to reducing the element of surprise in future hazard occurrences. Since every analysis is necessarily conditional on the assumptions made about the nature of sources of epistemic uncertainty it is also important to follow the guidelines for good practice suggested in the companion Part 2.

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Keith J. Beven et al.
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This paper discusses how uncertainties resulting from lack of knowledge are considered in a number of different natural hazard areas including floods, landslides and debris flows, dam safety, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic ash clouds and pyroclastic flows, and wind storms. Since every analysis is necessarily conditional on the assumptions made about the nature of sources of such uncertainties it is also important to follow the guidelines for good practice suggested in Paper 2.
This paper discusses how uncertainties resulting from lack of knowledge are considered in a...
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