Multi-risk assessment and Copernicus services

The estimate of hazard and risk from natural calamities is a well established discipline which has nonetheless undergone a rapid evolution in recent years, both because the customary clients (policy makers, engineers, insurance industry) have become more demanding over the years and also because the computational tools and the data now available to researchers have grown substantially.

For this reason we created in late 2012 a research group within Eucentre, which has the objective of using innovative technologies to implement models for the estimation of hazard and risk from natural events, able to satisfy the increasing demand of the clients.

The Hazard and Risk section has several mathematical tools available at present that cover each risk component related to the following natural events:

  • earthquakes
  • floods
  • landslides
  • wind
  • hail
  • dust storm
  • storm surge
  • coastal erosion

Main research activities

Process standardization and multi-risk analysis.
One important effort of this research group is to devise a standardized methodology for the calculation of hazard and risk that, while respecting the peculiarities of each type of event in terms of physical, mathematical and statistical characteristics, allows to adopt the same structure for the different models and to harmonize each single component. This effort allowed us to implement a multi-hazard model which is consistent in terms of mathematical-statistical treatment and is computationally efficient.

Integration with the Copernicus services

A fundamental contribution to the innovation of the products of this section is the integration with the Downstreaming Copernicus services. Copernicus, once known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), is a complex Earth Observation system which collects, process and integrates data from different sources, such as earth observation satellites and in-situ sensors such as ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors. The program provides reliable and up-to-date information for public and commercial needs through a set of services related to environmental, land and security issues. One of Copernicus aims is to guarantee Europe independence in the collections and management of the data necessary to monitor the health state of the earth, supporting the needs of European public policies through its precise and reliable services.

Uncertainty estimate

The hazard estimation for most perils is well established but in some cases, such as wind and flood hazard, it lacks a rigorous treatment of the sources of uncertainty that could affect the resulting hazard and risk estimates. The research of the group is aimed at the improvement of the techniques to treat the uncertainties and to the standardization to the extent possible of the approaches across fields for all natural events.

Experience in the vulnerability and exposure assessment

The evaluation of risk goes far beyond the hazard characterization by incorporating the exposure of the elements at risk (e.g., population, built environment, crops) and their vulnerability to the effects of the natural events of interest. Thanks to the experience and extensive knowledge of other research areas at Eucentre, such as Aerospace, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Masonry Structures, Reinforced Concrete Structures, Structural Analysis and Design Methods, Vulnerability and Territorial Management the exposure and vulnerability components are deeply studied and integrated into the risk assessment procedure.

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