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Risk assessment of natural hazards: Data availability and applicability for loss quantification
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5695-8099
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Quantitative risk assessments are a fundamental part of economic analysis and natural hazard risk management models. It increases the objectivity and the transparency of risk assessments and guides policymakers in making efficient decisions when spending public resources on risk reduction. Managing hazard risks calls for an understanding of the relationships between hazard exposure and vulnerability of humans and assets.

 

The purpose of this thesis is to identify and estimate causal relationships between hazards, exposure and vulnerability, and to evaluate the applicability of systematically collected data sets to produce reliable and generalizable quantitative information for decision support.

 

Several causal relationships have been established. For example, the extent of lake flood damage to residential buildings depends on the duration of floods, distance to waterfront, the age of the house and in some cases the water level. Results also show that homeowners private initiative to reduce risk, prior to or during a flood, reduced their probability of suffering building damage with as much as 40 percent. Further, a causal relationship has been established between the number of people exposed to quick clay landslides and landslide fatalities.

 

Even though several relationships were identified between flood exposure and vulnerability, the effects can only explain small parts of the total variation in damages, especially at object level. The availability of damage data in Sweden is generally low. The most comprehensive damage data sets in Sweden are held by private insurance companies and are not publicly available. Data scarcity is a barrier to quantitative natural hazard risk assessment in Sweden. More efforts should therefore be made to collect data systematically for modelling and validating standardized approaches to quantitative damage estimation.

Abstract [en]

Natural hazard damages have increased worldwide. Impacts caused by hydrological and meteorological hazards have increased the most. An analysis of insurance payments in Sweden showed that flood damages have been increasing in Sweden as well. With climate change and increasing populations we can expect this trend to continue unless efforts are made to reduce risk and adapt communities to the threats. Economic analysis and quantitative risk assessments of natural hazards are fundamental parts of a risk management process that can support policymakers' decisions on efficient risk reduction. However, in order to develop reliable damage estimation models knowledge is needed of the relationships between hazard exposure and the vulnerability of exposed objects and persons. This thesis has established causal relationships between residential exposure and flood damage on the basis of insurance data. I also found that private damage-reducing actions decreased the probability of damage to buildings with almost 40 percent. Further, a causal relationship has been established between the number of people exposed to quick clay landslides and fatalities. Even though several relationships have been identified between flood exposure and vulnerability, the effects can explain only small parts of the total variation in damages, especially at object level, and more effort is needed to develop quantitative models for risk assessment purposes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , 79 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 16
Keyword [en]
flood, landslide, damage, damage function, cost-benefit, decision support, causal relationship
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Risk and Environmental Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48324ISBN: 978-91-7063-773-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-774-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48324DiVA: diva2:1089652
Public defence
2017-06-02, 1B364, Frödingsalen, Karlstad, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-12 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-06-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Insured flood losses in Sweden, 1987-2013
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Insured flood losses in Sweden, 1987-2013
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Climate Research
Research subject
Risk and Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48322 (URN)
Available from: 2017-04-20 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-06-28Bibliographically approved
2. Damage assessment of lake floods: Insured damage to private property during two lake floods in Sweden 2000/2001
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Damage assessment of lake floods: Insured damage to private property during two lake floods in Sweden 2000/2001
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, E-ISSN 2212-4209, Vol. 10, 305-314 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study analyses empirical data on the direct damage impact of lake floods using insurance claims for 195 private buildings. A relationship between lake water levels and insurance payments is established, but the estimated economic effects are small. Building damage also occurs in fringe areas that are not reached by surface water, which indicates a complex interplay between several factors influencing the degree of damage. Large lake floods occur over an extended time span (months). Their duration, as well as possible wind effects, should be taken into account in flood risk assessment. The slow onset of lake floods facilitates implementation of private damage-reducing measures in addition to public mitigation efforts. Private damage-reducing measures decrease the risk of structural damage to buildings, easing recovery for homeowners and society as a whole. Insurance companies can gain from investing in public flood awareness programmes and by providing information to their insurance holders on how to reduce property vulnerability in emergency situations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
Lake flood; Flood damage; Insured losses; Damage reduction; Flood assessment; Damage assessment
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Risk and Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41134 (URN)10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.10.003 (DOI)000357733900023 ()
Funder
Länsförsäkringar AB
Available from: 2016-03-24 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2017-04-24Bibliographically approved
3. Assessment of pluvial flood exposure and vulnerability of residential areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of pluvial flood exposure and vulnerability of residential areas
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, E-ISSN 2212-4209, Vol. 21, 367-375 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
National Category
Environmental Sciences Climate Research
Research subject
Risk and Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48321 (URN)10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.01.016 (DOI)2-s2.0-85011344640 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-04-20 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-04-24Bibliographically approved
4. Assessment of data availability for the development of landslide fatality curves
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of data availability for the development of landslide fatality curves
2017 (English)In: Landslides: Journal of the International Consortium on Landslides, ISSN 1612-510X, E-ISSN 1612-5118, Vol. 14, no 3, 1113-1126 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Quick clay landslides are a special feature of Norwegian and Swedish geologies. Vibrations or small initial landslides can cause a quick clay layer to collapse and liquefy, resulting in rapid landslides with little or no time for evacuation, making them a real threat to human life. Research concentrating on damages due to landslides is scarce, and analyses of loss of human lives caused by quick clay landslides in the scientific literature are, to our knowledge, non-existing. Fatality quantification can complement landslide risk assessments and serves as guidance for policy choices when evaluating efficient risk-reducing measures. The objectives of this study were to assess and analyze available damage information in an existing data set of 66 historical landslide events that occurred in Norway and Sweden between 1848 and 2009, and access its applicability for quantifying loss of human life caused by quick clay landslides. Fatality curves were estimated as functions of the number of exposed persons per landslide. Monte Carlo simulations were used to account for the uncertainties in the number of people actually exposed. The results of the study imply that the quick clay fatality curves are non-linear, indicating that the probability of losing lives increases exponentially when the number of exposed persons increases. Potential factors affecting human susceptibility to landslides (e.g., landslide-, area-, or individual-specific characteristics) could not be satisfyingly quantified based on available historical records. Future research should concentrate on quantifying susceptibility factors that can further explain human vulnerability to quick clay landslides.

Keyword
Landslide, Quick clay, Loss of life, Landslide fatalities, Data availability
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Risk and Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41135 (URN)10.1007/s10346-016-0775-6 (DOI)000401697900023 ()
Funder
Länsförsäkringar AB
Available from: 2016-03-24 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2017-07-03Bibliographically approved

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