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Natural Hazards

This theme not only has a strong focus on fundamental understanding and quantification of natural hazards but also on reducing their societal impacts. Collectively we study a variety of natural hazards and their individual or cascading impacts. This includes approaches such as elucidating earthquake source processes; understanding pre-eruptive changes in magmatic storage regions likely to trigger volcanic eruptions; causal analysis of changes in European wind speed trends; the impact of polar storms on ocean circulation; tidal bore analysis and causes and consequences of changes in sedimentation regime in flash floods.

Many of our research processes also provide training in the development of approaches to forecasting and assessing hazards. This includes methods to map earthquake clusters for seismic hazard assessment; uncertainty modelling in flood risk forecasting and weather forecasting; and stochastic hydrology. We furthermore conduct research on the understanding of palaeo-oceanographic and palaeo-climatological events that have relevance to society, for example through understanding likely future  sea-level change rates or mega-flood events.   

EnvEast research is well known for exploring the linkage between understanding physical threat and reducing impact in the surrounding population. Work on participation and engagement is also pioneering new forms of science-society interaction in radioactive waste and catchment management.  Understanding the vulnerability and responses of people and society to natural hazards is a key focal point, with emphasis on how hydro-meteorological and geophysical extreme events impact on the livelihoods of the poor in developing countries, with a strong track record in this field working for agencies such as the Department for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, and the European Commission.