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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Highlight articles

The predictability of 25 historical winter storms over Europe is revisited by taking advantage of a homogeneous dataset of retrospective forecasts for the 1995–2015 period. The forecasts well predict the storms up to 2–4 days ahead only but also show clear potential for the early warning of storms up to 10 days ahead. However, the predictability of individual storms exhibits large variability and physical characteristics are identified for outliers with a poor predictability.

Florian Pantillon, Peter Knippertz, and Ulrich Corsmeier

Due to the small-scale and non-stationary nature of the convective wind gusts usually associated with thunderstorms, there is a considerable lack of knowledge regarding their characteristics and statistics. Thus, we investigated the temporal and spatial distribution, intensity, and return values of those wind events in Germany. The study constitutes a fundamental addition to an improved understanding of convective wind gusts and serves as basis for further risk assessments.

Susanna Mohr, Michael Kunz, Alexandra Richter, and Bodo Ruck

This study describes a sensitivity analysis of the RAMMS debris-flow entrainment model, which is intended to help solve problems related to predicting the runout of debris flows. The results indicate that the entrainment model predicts plausible erosion volumes in comparison with field data. These eroded volumes are sensitive to the initial landslide volume, suggesting that this tool may be useful for both reconstruction of historical events and modeling of debris flow scenarios.

Florian Frank, Brian W. McArdell, Nicole Oggier, Patrick Baer, Marc Christen, and Andreas Vieli

In March 2015, a new international blueprint for disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been adopted in Sendai, Japan, at the end of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR, March 14–18, 2015). We review and discuss the agreed commitments and targets, as well as the negotiation leading the Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR), and discuss briefly its implication for the later UN-led negotiations on sustainable development goals and climate change.

Jaroslav Mysiak, Swenja Surminski, Annegret Thieken, Reinhard Mechler, and Jeroen Aerts

In March 2014, a commercial airliner vanished without a trace. The wreckage of the plane was never recovered, except for a small part of the wing that washed up 17 months after the disappearance. In this paper we show a method to model the most likely trajectories of floating debris from the aircraft. The results show that the location of the recovered aircraft part is compatible with the assumed crash site and predict that further debris may be found along the African east coast.

Eric Jansen, Giovanni Coppini, and Nadia Pinardi

Here, we aim to better understand the potential for using video games in volcanic hazard education with at-risk communities. A study using a bespoke-designed video game - St. Vincent's Volcano - was trialled on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent in 2015. Preliminary data analysis demonstrates 94% of study participants had an improved knowledge of volcanic hazards after playing the game, leading us to conclude that video games could be a logical progression for education and outreach activities.

L. Mani, P. D. Cole, and I. Stewart

Inundations on the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar territory of the Russian Federation were analysed for 1945 to 2013. Risks, hazards and damage from inundations here are some of the highest in the country. The large quantity and the extremeness of rainfall, and the intense flood regimes of the rivers are the main contributors. Additionally, anthropogenic impact such as badly planned economic activities in channels, floodplains and on river watersheds strongly enhance the effects.

N. Alexeevsky, D. V. Magritsky, K. P. Koltermann, I. Krylenko, and P. Toropov

Many urban areas experience both fluvial and pluvial floods, thus this study aims to analyse fluvial and pluvial flood hazards as well as combined pluvial and fluvial flood hazards. This combined fluvial-pluvial flood hazard analysis is performed in a tropical environment for Can Tho city in the Mekong Delta. The final results are probabilistic hazard maps, showing the maximum inundation caused by floods of different magnitudes along with an uncertainty estimation.

H. Apel, O. Martínez Trepat, N. N. Hung, D. T. Chinh, B. Merz, and N. V. Dung

We proposed an Rmax estimation method based on the radius of the 50 knot wind (R50). The data obtained during the passage of strong typhoons by a meteorological station network in the Japanese archipelago enabled us to derive the following simple formula, Rmax = 0.23 R50. The proposed method is expected to increase the reliability of storm surge prediction and contribute to disaster risk management, particularly in the western North Pacific.

H. Takagi and W. Wu

Reports of possible earthquake precursors have social responsibility. They motivate the idea that earthquakes may be predicted in the future. Thus, these papers should be convincing about the seismogenic origin of the reported precursors. We have reviewed Febriani et al. (2014). We have shown that the pre-earthquake magnetic changes they reported are not seismogenic but global-scale variations in the geomagnetic field in response to Sun–Earth interactions.

F. Masci and J. N. Thomas

While the debate is on the possibility that the 2012 Emilia quakes could have been triggered by human activity, we studied the inverse relationship between hydrocarbon and seismicity. Overlapping a data set of gas and oil wells with a database of seismic sources, we found that only 1/19 wells falling on the largest faults is currently productive, while the highest ratio of productive wells is found outside the seismogenic sources. In general, productive gas wells are anti-correlated with faults.

M. Mucciarelli, F. Donda, and G. Valensise

Human vulnerability indicators used by the scientific community are validated in light of past tsunamis (2011 Japan, 2010 Chile, 2009 Samoa, 2004 Indian Ocean). Temporal exposure depends on livelihoods, traditions and gender roles. Vulnerable age groups are the elderly (highest mortality rates) and children. Female mortality is not always higher. There is a high correlation between damaged buildings and victims; distance to the sea, building materials and water depths determine type of damage.

P. González-Riancho, B. Aliaga, S. Hettiarachchi, M. González, and R. Medina

We have developed a global database of daily, gridded Fire Weather Index System calculations beginning in 1980. Input data and two different estimates of precipitation from rain gauges were obtained from the NASA Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications. This data set can be used for analyzing historical relationships between fire weather and fire activity, and in identifying large-scale atmosphere–ocean controls on fire weather.

R. D. Field, A. C. Spessa, N. A. Aziz, A. Camia, A. Cantin, R. Carr, W. J. de Groot, A. J. Dowdy, M. D. Flannigan, K. Manomaiphiboon, F. Pappenberger, V. Tanpipat, and X. Wang

We carry out a study of the seismic signals generated by the devastating Oso-Steelhead landslides. We invert the long-period seismic signals generated by the first main event and obtain estimates of its trajectory, kinematics and mass. No distinct long-period surface waves were recorded for the second failure, which prevents inversion for its source parameters. However, from the comparison of the energy of the short-period waves generated by both events, we can estimate the volume of the second.

C. Hibert, C. P. Stark, and G. Ekström

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Eastern Visayas islands of the Philippines on 8 November 2013. The International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, deployed several teams for damage recognition, relief support and collaboration with regard to this event. In this paper, we summarize the rapid damage assessment from satellite imagery conducted days after the event and report on the inundation measurements and damage surveyed in the field.

E. Mas, J. Bricker, S. Kure, B. Adriano, C. Yi, A. Suppasri, and S. Koshimura

This papers introduces the XWS (eXtreme WindStorms) catalogue, which consists of storm tracks and model-generated maximum 3 s wind-gust footprints for 50 of the most extreme winter windstorms to hit Europe in the period 1979–2012.

J. F. Roberts, A. J. Champion, L. C. Dawkins, K. I. Hodges, L. C. Shaffrey, D. B. Stephenson, M. A. Stringer, H. E. Thornton, and B. D. Youngman

This paper reviews the motivation and foundation of the international MEDiterranean EXperiment (MEDEX), the gestation, history and organisation of the project, as well as the main products and scientific achievements obtained from it.

A. Jansa, P. Alpert, P. Arbogast, A. Buzzi, B. Ivancan-Picek, V. Kotroni, M. C. Llasat, C. Ramis, E. Richard, R. Romero, and A. Speranza

A database of earthquake-induced ground failures in Italy is presented, and the related content is analysed. The catalogue collects data regarding landslides, liquefaction, ground cracks, surface faulting and ground changes triggered by earthquakes of Mercalli epicentral intensity 8 or greater that occurred in the last millennium in Italy.

S. Martino, A. Prestininzi, and R. W. Romeo

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