Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences

Journal Information
EISSN : 1684-9981
Current Publisher: Copernicus GmbH (10.5194)
Total articles ≅ 3,408
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Latest articles in this journal

, Kelley DePolt, Jamie Kruse, Anuradha Mukherji, , Ausmita Ghosh, Philip Van Wagoner
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1759-1767; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1759-2021

The simultaneous rise of tropical-cyclone-induced flood waters across a large hazard management domain can stretch rescue and recovery efforts. Here we present a means to quantify the connectedness of maximum surge during a storm with geospatial statistics. Tide gauges throughout the extensive estuaries and barrier islands of North Carolina deployed and operating during hurricanes Matthew (n=82) and Florence (n=123) are used to compare the spatial compounding of surge for these two disasters. Moran's I showed the occurrence of maximum storm tide was more clustered for Matthew compared to Florence, and a semivariogram analysis produced a spatial range of similarly timed storm tide that was 4 times as large for Matthew than Florence. A more limited data set of fluvial flooding and precipitation in eastern North Carolina showed a consistent result – multivariate flood sources associated with Matthew were more concentrated in time as compared to Florence. Although Matthew and Florence were equally intense, they had very different tracks and speeds which influenced the timing of surge along the coast.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1769-1784; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1769-2021

A rainfall threshold is a function of some rainfall quantities that provides the conditions beyond which the probability of debris-flow occurrence is considered significant. Many uncertainties may affect the thresholds calibration and, consequently, its robustness. This study aims to assess the uncertainty in the estimate of a rainfall threshold for stony debris flow based on the backward dynamical approach, an innovative method to compute the rainfall duration and averaged intensity strictly related to a measured debris flow. The uncertainty analysis is computed by performing two Monte Carlo cascade simulations: (i) to assess the variability in the event characteristics estimate due to the uncertainty in the backward dynamical approach parameters and data and (ii) to quantify the impact of this variability on the threshold calibration. The application of this procedure to a case study highlights that the variability in the event characteristics can be both low and high. Instead, the threshold coefficients have a low dispersion showing good robustness of the threshold estimate. Moreover, the results suggest that some event features are correlated with the variability of the rainfall event duration and intensity. The proposed method is suitable to analyse the uncertainty of other threshold calibration approaches.
, , , Saeed Moghimi, Edward Myers, Shachak Pe'Eri, Hao-Cheng Yu
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1703-1719; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1703-2021

We study the compound flooding processes that occurred in Hurricane Florence (2018), which was accompanied by heavy precipitation, using a 3D creek-to-ocean hydrodynamic model. We examine the important role played by barrier islands in the observed compound surges in the coastal watershed. Locally very high resolution is used in some watershed areas in order to resolve small features that turn out to be critical for capturing the observed high water marks locally. The wave effects are found to be significant near barrier islands and have contributed to some observed over-toppings and breaches. Results from sensitivity tests applying each of the three major forcing factors (oceanic, fluvial, and pluvial) separately are succinctly summarized in a “dominance map” that highlights significant compound effects in most of the affected coastal watersheds, estuaries, and back bays behind the barrier islands. Operational forecasts based on the current model are being set up at NOAA to help coastal resource and emergency managers with disaster planning and mitigation efforts.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1721-1738; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1721-2021

Impacts upon vulnerable areas such as mountain ranges may become greater under a future scenario of adverse climatic conditions. In this sense, the concurrence of long dry spells and extremely hot temperatures can induce environmental risks such as wildfires, crop yield losses or other problems, the consequences of which could be much more serious than if these events were to occur separately in time (e.g. only long dry spells). The present study attempts to address recent and future changes in the following dimensions: duration (D), magnitude (M) and extreme magnitude (EM) of compound dry–hot events in the Pyrenees. The analysis focuses upon changes in the extremely long dry spells and extremely high temperatures that occur within these dry periods in order to estimate whether the internal structure of the compound event underwent a change in the observed period (1981–2015) and whether it will change in the future (2006–2100) under intermediate (RCP4.5, where RCP is representative concentration pathway) and high (RCP8.5) emission scenarios. To this end, we quantified the changes in the temporal trends of such events, as well as changes in the bivariate probability density functions for the main Pyrenean regions. The results showed that to date the risk of the compound event has increased by only one dimension – magnitude (including extreme magnitude) – during the last few decades. In relation to the future, increase in risk was found to be associated with an increase in both the magnitude and the duration (extremely long dry spells) of the compound event throughout the Pyrenees during the spring under RCP8.5 and in the northernmost part of this mountain range during summer under this same scenario.
Tigstu T. Dullo, George K. Darkwah, , , M. Bulbul Sharif, , , Sheikh Ghafoor,
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1739-1757; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1739-2021

This study evaluates the impact of potential future climate change on flood regimes, floodplain protection, and electricity infrastructures across the Conasauga River watershed in the southeastern United States through ensemble hydrodynamic inundation modeling. The ensemble streamflow scenarios were simulated by the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM) driven by (1) 1981–2012 Daymet meteorological observations and (2) 11 sets of downscaled global climate models (GCMs) during the 1966–2005 historical and 2011–2050 future periods. Surface inundation was simulated using a GPU-accelerated Two-dimensional Runoff Inundation Toolkit for Operational Needs (TRITON) hydrodynamic model. A total of 9 out of the 11 GCMs exhibit an increase in the mean ensemble flood inundation areas. Moreover, at the 1 % annual exceedance probability level, the flood inundation frequency curves indicate a ∼ 16 km2 increase in floodplain area. The assessment also shows that even after flood-proofing, four of the substations could still be affected in the projected future period. The increase in floodplain area and substation vulnerability highlights the need to account for climate change in floodplain management. Overall, this study provides a proof-of-concept demonstration of how the computationally intensive hydrodynamic inundation modeling can be used to enhance flood frequency maps and vulnerability assessment under the changing climatic conditions.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1685-1701; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1685-2021

In this study we analyze drought features at the European level over the period 1901–2019 using three drought indices: the standardized precipitation index (SPI), the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), and the self-calibrated Palmer drought severity index (scPDSI). The results based on the SPEI and scPDSI point to the fact that Central Europe (CEU) and the Mediterranean region (MED) are becoming dryer due to an increase in the potential evapotranspiration and mean air temperature, while North Europe (NEU) is becoming wetter. By contrast, the SPI drought does not reveal these changes in the drought variability, mainly due to the fact that the precipitation does not exhibit a significant change, especially over CEU. The SPEI12 indicates a significant increase both in the drought frequency and area over the last three decades for MED and CEU, while SPI12 does not capture these features. Thus, the performance of the SPI may be insufficient for drought analysis studies over regions where there is a strong warming signal. By analyzing the frequency of compound events (e.g., high temperatures and droughts), we show that the potential evapotranspiration and the mean air temperature are becoming essential components for drought occurrence over CEU and MED. This, together with the projected increase in the potential evapotranspiration under a warming climate, has significant implications concerning the future occurrence of drought events, especially for the MED and CEU regions.
, , Shigehiro Fujino
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1667-1683; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1667-2021

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused significant economic losses and a large number of fatalities in the coastal areas. The estimation of tsunami flow conditions using inverse models has become a fundamental aspect of disaster mitigation and management. Here, a case study involving the Phra Thong island, which was affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, in Thailand was conducted using inverse modeling that incorporates a deep neural network (DNN). The DNN inverse analysis reconstructed the values of flow conditions such as maximum inundation distance, flow velocity and maximum flow depth, as well as the sediment concentration of five grain-size classes using the thickness and grain-size distribution of the tsunami deposit from the post-tsunami survey around Phra Thong island. The quantification of uncertainty was also reported using the jackknife method. Using other previous models applied to areas in and around Phra Thong island, the predicted flow conditions were compared with the reported observed values and simulated results. The estimated depositional characteristics such as volume per unit area and grain-size distribution were in line with the measured values from the field survey. These qualitative and quantitative comparisons demonstrated that the DNN inverse model is a potential tool for estimating the physical characteristics of modern tsunamis.
, , , Eduardo Gutiérrez, Demetrio Escobar, Melida Schliz, Alessandro Aiuppa,
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1639-1665; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1639-2021

The San Salvador volcanic complex (El Salvador) and Nejapa-Chiltepe volcanic complex (Nicaragua) have been characterized by a significant variability in eruption style and vent location. Densely inhabited cities are built on them and their surroundings, including the metropolitan areas of San Salvador (∼2.4 million people) and Managua (∼1.4 million people), respectively. In this study we present novel vent opening probability maps for these volcanic complexes, which are based on a multi-model approach that relies on kernel density estimators. In particular, we present thematic vent opening maps, i.e., we consider different hazardous phenomena separately, including lava emission, small-scale pyroclastic density currents, ejection of ballistic projectiles, and low-intensity pyroclastic fallout. Our volcanological dataset includes: (1) the location of past vents, (2) the mapping of the main fault structures, and (3) the eruption styles of past events, obtained from critical analysis of the literature and/or inferred from volcanic deposits and morphological features observed remotely and in the field. To illustrate the effects of considering the expected eruption style in the construction of vent opening maps, we focus on the analysis of small-scale pyroclastic density currents derived from phreatomagmatic activity or from low-intensity magmatic volcanism. For the numerical simulation of these phenomena we adopted the recently developed branching energy cone model by using the program ECMapProb. Our results show that the implementation of thematic vent opening maps can produce significantly different hazard levels from those estimated with traditional, non-thematic maps.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1615-1637; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1615-2021

Controls on landsliding have long been studied, but the potential for landslide-induced dam and lake formation has received less attention. Here, we model possible landslides and the formation of landslide dams and lakes in the Austrian Alps. We combine a slope criterion with a probabilistic approach to determine landslide release areas and volumes. We then simulate the progression and deposition of the landslides with a fluid dynamic model. We characterize the resulting landslide deposits with commonly used metrics, investigate their relation to glacial land-forming and tectonic units, and discuss the roles of the drainage system and valley shape. We discover that modeled landslide dams and lakes cover a wide volume range. In line with real-world inventories, we further found that lake volume increases linearly with landslide volume in the case of efficient damming – when an exceptionally large lake is dammed by a relatively small landslide deposit. The distribution and size of potential landslide dams and lakes depends strongly on local topographic relief. For a given landslide volume, lake size depends on drainage area and valley geometry. The largest lakes form in glacial troughs, while the most efficient damming occurs where landslides block a gorge downstream of a wide valley, a situation preferentially encountered at the transition between two different tectonic units. Our results also contain inefficient damming events, a damming type that exhibits different scaling of landslide and lake metrics than efficient damming and is hardly reported in inventories. We assume that such events also occur in the real world and emphasize that their documentation is needed to better understand the effects of landsliding on the drainage system.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Volume 21, pp 1599-1614; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1599-2021

Models for the predictions of monetary losses from floods mainly blend data deemed to represent a single flood type and region. Moreover, these approaches largely ignore indicators of preparedness and how predictors may vary between regions and events, challenging the transferability of flood loss models. We use a flood loss database of 1812 German flood-affected households to explore how Bayesian multilevel models can estimate normalised flood damage stratified by event, region, or flood process type. Multilevel models acknowledge natural groups in the data and allow each group to learn from others. We obtain posterior estimates that differ between flood types, with credibly varying influences of water depth, contamination, duration, implementation of property-level precautionary measures, insurance, and previous flood experience; these influences overlap across most events or regions, however. We infer that the underlying damaging processes of distinct flood types deserve further attention. Each reported flood loss and affected region involved mixed flood types, likely explaining the uncertainty in the coefficients. Our results emphasise the need to consider flood types as an important step towards applying flood loss models elsewhere. We argue that failing to do so may unduly generalise the model and systematically bias loss estimations from empirical data.
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