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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-403
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-403
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: review article 16 Dec 2019

Submitted as: review article | 16 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Review article: Natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale

Philip J. Ward1, Veit Blauhut2, Nadia Bloemendaal1, James E. Daniell3,4,5, Marleen C. de Ruiter1, Melanie Duncan6, Robert Emberson7, Susanna F. Jenkins8, Dalia Kirschbaum7, Michael Kunz5,9, Susanna Mohr5,9, Sanne Muis1,10, Graeme Riddell11, Andreas Schäfer3,9, Thomas Stanley7,12,13, Ted I. E. Veldkamp1, and Hessel C. Winsemius10,14 Philip J. Ward et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2Environmental Hydrological Systems, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 3Geophysical Institute (GPI), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 4Risklayer GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 5Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology, KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 6British Geological Survey, The Lyell Centre, Edinburgh, UK
  • 7NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • 8Earth Observatory of Singapore, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 9Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 10Deltares, Boussinesqweg 1, 2629 HV Delft, The Netherlands
  • 11School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  • 12Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 13Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 14TU Delft, PO Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract. Since 1990, natural hazards have led to over 1.6 million fatalities globally, and economic losses are estimated at an average of around $260–310 billion per year. The scientific and policy community recognise the need to reduce these risks. As a result, the last decade has seen a rapid development of global models for assessing risk from natural hazards at the global scale. In this paper, we review the scientific literature on natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale, and specifically examine whether and how they have examined future projections of hazard, exposure, and/or vulnerability. In doing so, we examine similarities and differences between the approaches taken across the different hazards, and identify potential ways in which different hazard communities can learn from each other. For example, we show that global risk studies focusing on hydrological, climatological, and meteorological hazards, have included future projections and disaster risk reduction measures (in the case of floods), whilst these are missing in global studies related to geological hazards. The methods used for projecting future exposure in the former could be applied to the geological studies. On the other hand, studies of earthquake and tsunami risk are now using stochastic modelling approaches to allow for a fully probabilistic assessment of risk, which could benefit the modelling of risk from other hazards. Finally, we discuss opportunities for learning from methods and approaches being developed and applied to assess natural hazard risks at more continental or regional scales. Through this paper, we hope to encourage dialogue on knowledge sharing between scientists and communities working on different hazards and at different spatial scales.

Philip J. Ward et al.
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Short summary
We review the scientific literature on natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale. In doing so, we examine similarities and differences between the approaches taken across the different hazards, and identify potential ways in which different hazard communities can learn from each other. Finally, we discuss opportunities for learning from methods and approaches being developed and applied to assess natural hazard risks at more continental or regional scales.
We review the scientific literature on natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale. In...
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