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

Scheduled special issues

The following special issues are scheduled for publication in NHESS:

Spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires: models, theory, and reality
31 Aug 2017–31 Jul 2018 | Guest editors: M. G. Pereira, R. Trigo, M. Tonini, and N. Koutsias | Supervising NHESS editor: R. Trigo | Information


Wildfires are the result of a large variety of interacting natural and anthropogenic components, which produce patterns that vary significantly both in space and in time.

In this context, this special issue will examine models, theory, empirical studies, new and innovative technologies for wildfire research and cover the various stages of the fire from the preview of occurrence through to detection, variability, modelling, and consequences; however, the focus will be on the spatial and temporal patterns of fires. Thus, the main purpose of this special issue will be the spatial and temporal distribution as well as the drivers of various aspects of the fire regime. Nevertheless, broad topics around wildfires (e.g. detection/remote sensing application, modelling, risk zones, burned area, and land-use-related covers) and the impact of climate change on wildfires are also encouraged.

Research topics include but are not limited to

  • fire detection and monitoring, including remote sensing and innovative technologies for wildfire detection;
  • fire spread models, ranging from case studies to long-term climatological assessments;
  • pre-fire planning, risk assessment, and management;
  • post-fire assessment, such as burned area mapping, fire severity, and damage (vegetation’s composition, decrease in forests, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, alteration of landscape patterns and ecosystem functioning);
  • post-fire vegetation recovery, including time series satellite data and vegetation phenology;
  • influence of weather and climate/climate change on wildfire activity;
  • fire impacts on the environment, in particular on the atmosphere and human health;
  • relationship between wildfires and social and economic drivers and changes.

Environmental changes and hazards in the Dead Sea region (NHESS/ACP/HESS/SE inter-journal SI)
26 Jun 2017–30 Jun 2018 | Guest editors: S. Parolai, S. Geyer, and O. Katz | Information


The Dead Sea region constitutes a unique environmental system on Earth. Set in an extraordinary landscape and cultural area, it is central to life in this region and of great economic and ecological importance. Today, the region is faced with rapid environmental changes and a multitude of hazardous natural phenomena. The ongoing lake level decline of the Dead Sea, the desertification process, occasional flash floods, the development of numerous sinkholes, and the existing significant seismic risk indicate that the region can by affected by important human, economic, and ecologic loss in future. Due to its outstanding characteristics, such as sharp climatic gradients, extreme water salinity, its dynamics, and the combination of both natural and anthropogenic drivers, the Dead Sea region represents a unique natural laboratory in which to study multiple disciplines such as geophysics, hydrology, and meteorology.

The environmental changes in Earth, atmosphere, and water are linked to the main geomorphic feature in the region, the Dead Sea Transform fault system. Due to this active fault zone, the region is exposed to severe earthquake hazard, which in turn, considering the exposed assets and the vulnerability of the building stock, determines a significant seismic risk in the region. Knowledge about processes and structures in the underground is also required for the study of sinkholes. Sinkholes form when groundwater, undersaturated with respect to easily soluble minerals, uses faults as conduits to percolate to subsurface salt deposits. The water dissolves and flushes the salt, leading to a collapse of the underground substrate structure. Thus, the development of sinkholes is enabled. Besides triggering sinkhole formation, groundwater recharge determines the available water resources. The Dead Sea being a terminal lake, its water level decline is controlled by changes in subsurface as well as surface water inflow and evaporation. A direct link to hydrology and atmospheric sciences is thereby established. The rapid shrinking of the water surface area is accompanied by a strong local climatic change, which induces changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Here, the Dead Sea can be viewed as a laboratory for studying effects of climate change under much accelerated conditions compared to the rest of the world.

The objective of the multidisciplinary special issue "Environmental changes and hazards in the Dead Sea region" is to compile research and recent advances on the atmospheric, hydrological, and geophysical processes and dynamics of the Dead Sea and its surroundings, which are also of prototype relevance for other (semi)arid terminal basins of the world. Papers included in this special issue could address the processes of sinkhole genesis, groundwater recharge and movement, flash flooding, as well as seismic or severe meteorological events and could include topics such as the quantification of the water budget components. Moreover, contributions are invited that demonstrate how this knowledge contributes to aspects of risk assessment (or its main components like hazard, exposure, and vulnerability) and could assist in efficient risk mitigation and remediation strategies as well as to appropriate implementation of early warning systems in the region. Both measurement and modelling studies are welcome.

The planned special issue aims to address the unique conditions of the Dead Sea region from different disciplinary views. Given the fast environmental changes in the different spheres, the special issue will be of wide interest to readers from seismologists, geophysicists, engineers, and hydrologists to meteorologists. Interest will not be limited to researchers working in the region as similar changes are occurring in other parts of the world too, many on a much longer timescale.

The special issue is initiated by the Helmholtz Virtual Institute’s DEad SEa Research VEnue (DESERVE). The project brings together researchers working on diverse research fields related to the Dead Sea environment. The special issue will be open for all submissions within its scope.

Landslide early warning systems: monitoring systems, rainfall thresholds, warning models, performance evaluation and risk perception
13 Mar 2017–30 Nov 2017 | Guest editors: S. Segoni, L. Piciullo, S. L. Gariano, T. A. Bogaard, and F. Catani | Information


This special issue focuses on landslide early warning systems (LEWSs) at both regional and local scale, with specific reference to landslides induced by rainfall and/or snowmelt. LEWSs at regional scale are used to assess the probability of landslide occurrence over a priori-defined warning zones, typically through forecasting and monitoring of meteorological variables, in order to give generalized warnings to communities and institutions working with hazard mitigation measures. Conversely, the main aim of LEWSs at a local scale is the temporary evacuation of people from areas where, at specific times, the risk level to which they are exposed can become intolerably high. The structure of LEWSs can be schematized as an interrelation of both technical and social components. The definition of these components and the aims of the alert issued may vary as a function of the scale at which the system is employed.

The special issue wishes to highlight approaches and developments regarding correlation laws, monitoring systems, models for issuing different warning levels, landslide and warning databases, landslide forecasting, weather prediction models, emergency phases, communication strategies, performance analysis of the warnings issued, and other activities necessary for designing and operating LEWSs.

We expect contributions addressing the following topics:

  • operational and prototype landslide early warning systems at regional and local scale;
  • correlation models for early warning purposes;
  • landslide forecasting and warning models;
  • performance analysis of landslide warning models;
  • landslide risk management;
  • landslide risk perception.

The special issue will be open to every submission within its scope.

Landslide–transport network interactions
01 May 2017–31 Dec 2017 | Guest editors: P. Tarolli, F. E. Taylor, and B. D. Malamud | Information


When landslides occur on or near a transport line (e.g., road or railway), they have the potential to cause transport network blockages, delays, detours, damage, and closures, resulting in economic and societal impacts. Transport lines such as roads or railways may increase landslide susceptibility (e.g. through oversteepening) or decrease susceptibility (e.g. through drainage routing or strengthening of the soil), resulting in a complex interplay between transport lines, susceptibility, landslides, and people. This special issue welcomes papers on landslide–transport network interactions on themes such as spatial and numerical modelling, physical process, landslide susceptibility, potential and actual impact, risk assessments, and novel early-warning systems. We particularly welcome papers with novel conclusions or broad implications for the management of landslide–transport network interactions.

Authors are discouraged from submitting solely engineering papers that do not also deal with process or broader landslide–transport line interplay issues. If you are unsure of suitability, please write the guest editors before submission to the special issue. We encourage authors to include either links to or actual supplementary material to share model code, data, videos, etc.

Linking faults to seismic hazard assessment in Europe
30 Jul 2016–31 Jul 2017 | Guest editors: B. Pace, F. Visini, O. Scotti, and L. Peruzza | Information


Objectives: present research results and discuss the challenges of linking field geologists, fault modellers, earthquake-rupture simulators, data modellers, and seismic hazard practitioners. Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to

  • fault-based SHA models;
  • SHA-fault practitioners’ experiences in implementing and complementing by different disciplines (e.g. paleo/speleo/archeo/historical/instrumental seismology; geodesy; etc.);
  • fault uncertainties treatment (e.g. fault characterization in the field, implementation in SHA codes, and the resulting variability in expected ground motion);
  • testing approaches to ensure that the wealth of data available today is used following state-of-the-art methods, rigorous uncertainty handling, and appropriate input model parameterization.

The use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in monitoring applications and management of natural hazards
20 Jul 2016–01 Sep 2017 | Guest editors: D. Giordan, Y. S. Hayakawa, F. Nex | Supervising NHESS editor: P. Tarolli | Information


The use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) for civil applications is a new perspective in the field of natural hazard phenomena. The amazing diffusion of mini- and micro-RPAS is becoming a valuable alternative to the traditional monitoring and surveying applications, opening new interesting viewpoints. The acquisition of high-resolution remotely sensed data from RPAS in areas characterized by hazardous natural processes can be a powerful instrument to quickly assess the damages and to plan effective rescues without any risk for operators. The main goal of these systems is the collection of different data (e.g. images, gas or radioactivity concentrations, etc.) and the delivery of various products (e.g. 3-D models, hazard maps, high-resolution ortho-images, etc.). The high repeatability of RPAS flights and their limited costs also allows for a multi-temporal analysis of an area. However, methodologies, best practices, advantages, and limitations of these kinds of applications are unclear and/or poorly shared by the scientific community. This special issue aims at exploring the open research issues and possible applications of RPAS in the field of monitoring and management of geo-hazards to collect experiences, case studies, and results, as well as to define methodologies and best practices for their effective use in geo-hazard contexts such as landslides, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic areas. Papers dealing with the integration of heterogeneous sensors (gas sensor, multi-spectral and thermal images, lidar, vision-based navigation systems, etc.) for innovative applications in the geo-hazard domain will be particularly encouraged.

Damage of natural hazards: assessment and mitigation
10 May 2016–31 Jul 2017 | Guest editors: M. H. Spekkers, T. Glade, D. Molinari, T. Thaler, M.-C. Veldhuis, and H. Kreibich | Supervising NHESS editor: H. Kreibich | Information


Analysis and modelling of damage due to natural hazards supply crucial information for decision-making in risk management and climate-change adaptation. However, a lack of data (particularly damage data but also information about costs of risk mitigation) as well as the significant diversity in methods that are currently applied in damage assessments of different natural hazards and impacted sectors make it difficult to establish comprehensive, robust, and reliable cost figures. Thus, comparisons of associated costs across countries, hazards, and impacted sectors are a challenge.

This special issue will present current methodological approaches for assessing individual cost types (such as direct damage to housing, indirect losses, as well as costs of risk reduction) and aims to show how these methods are used for the management of various natural hazards (e.g. floods, droughts, alpine hazards, coastal hazards). We will include papers on the assessment of these various types of damage, for any kind of natural hazards. Also, we are interested in contributions that focus on the cost effectiveness or efficiency of risk-reduction measures. Papers are welcome on model development, validation, uncertainty analysis, risk-assessment frameworks, applications of damage models in case studies, as well as about the evaluation of risk mitigation measures.

The special issue shall be open for all submissions within the scope of the special issue. However, many papers may be inspired by the EGU 2015 and 2016 Sessions NH9.2 Costs of Natural Hazards organized by the proposed guest editors.

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