News from 2020



Cover picture depicting four natural hazards - forest fires, flood, earthquake and hurricane

In 2010 efforts initiated by senior fellows from Uppsala University, Swedish National Defence College (today, Swedish Defence University), and Karlstad University under the coordination of Professor Emeritus Sven Halldin of Uppsala University lay the foundation of CNDS. On 8 January 2020, the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) celebrates its 10th anniversary.  A series of events have been planned throughout the year to celebrate this occasion. 

In the last decade, over 30 PhD CNDS students have sucessfully earned their doctoral degrees. Today, the centre currently has 28 active early career scientists (postdocs and PhD candidates). The centre has also contributed to the advancement of the international educational curricula of disaster risk reduction by organizing its international research summer school for doctorate students as well as its biennial conference Forum for natural hazards and disasters, which focuses on nurturing an open dialogue with practitioners in the field. Over and beyond significant contributions made in the field of natural hazards and disaster science through numerous research publications, the centre has also been successful in attaining external research grants that are used to make further progress in the field of disaster risk reduction.

The centre's vision is to:

  • conduct research that facilitates a deeper understanding of coupled human-nature systems and reciprocal feedback mechanisms between natural hazards and socio-technical vulnerability,
  • advance efforts in disaster risk reduction, and
  • contribute to enhancing society’s ability to prevent and cope with natural hazard risks both in the national and international contexts.
Group picture from the first CNDS kick-off assembly
First CNDS kick-off assembly.



CNDS provided  Early Career Scientists (i.e., PhD students and postdocs) from CNDS partnering universities Uppsala University (UU), Karlstad University (KAU) and Swedish Defence University (FHS)  to apply for funding for interdisciplinary work within natural hazard and disaster science. The following have applied and have been selected to receive funding: Frederike Albrecht (FHS), Elena Mondino (UU), Maximilian Wanner (UU), Jacob Hileman (UU), Emma Rhodes (UU), and Niranjan Joshi (UU).



In the Swedish book “Att Samverka i kris - Vanliga människor i ovanliga situationer"(Cooperating during a crisis: Ordinary people in unusual situations), current research findings are interspersed with fictitious stories about ordinary people who end up in difficult situations and are forced to navigate the crisis management system and actors. This research project and book were commissioned by the Swedish Agency for Civil Contingencies (MSB). The authors are researchers at the Swedish Defence University.

"Att samverka i kris" cover page



Uppsala University has appointed Daniel Nohrstedt to professor. 

Daniel Nohrstedt portrait



The research project When it rains it pours: Biogeophysical drivers and societal responses to compound natural hazard events in Sweden has been awarded funding from the Kamprad Family Foundation. The purpose of the Kamprad Family Foundation is to support, stimulate and reward education and scientific research to promote entrepreneurship, the environment, competence, health and social improvement. 

ResearchersDaniel Nohrstedt, Department of Government, Uppsala University; Johanna Mård (principal investigator) , Department of Earth Science, Uppsala University; and Örjan Bodin, Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Funding: 3 400 000 SEK

The project is tied to the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS).



Drawing upon years of experience and research, CNDS fellows are sharing their knowledge and wisdom with the public in efforts to better understand the current Coronavirus pandemic.

A selection of contributions can be found on our website.

Picture of viruses



Map depicting downloads by countryColin Walch's article "Evacuation ahead of natural disasters: Evidence from cyclone Phailin in India and typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines" was among the most downloaded from the Geo Wiley Online Library website in 2019 with 1,188 full-text downloads in comparison to the average number of 567 full-text downloads per article published in Geo in 2019 and the average for geography articles across Wiley’s journals in 2018. 



Professor Rutgersson and Dr. Mårtensson provide some promising news about how the Corona crisis can actually provide new opportunities for the air and environment. For example, there is evidence that air pollution in China decreased by 20-30 percent this February, and satellite images show that the emissions of the poisonous gas nitrogen dioxide decreased throughout Europe.

What are scientists saying about the effects the Corona crisis is having on the air and environment? Can we learn something? 

Anna Rutgersson (A.R.) is Professor in Meteorology at the Department of Earth Sciences, Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor at Uppsala University, and CNDS fellow.

Monica Mårtensson (M.M.) is Lecturer in Meteorology at the Department of Earth Sciences, Program for Air, Water and Landscape Sciences.

How has the Corona crisis affected the environment and air in Europe?

Both the air and water has improved in many places, especially in in densely populated areas where there usually are high levels of pollution. Also we see that the emissions of green house gases have decreased. (A.R.)

Combustion of all types of fuel causes air pollution, and there are different types of air pollutions, both gases and particles. When it comes to nitrogen dioxide gases, NOx, the main sources are domestic transport, industry, working machines, heating and farming. Also, forest fires and volcanic eruptions can cause air pollutions. (M.M)

Statistics over Sweden´s emission of nitrogen dioxide can be found at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

What are the main causes for this present decline?

Almost all human activities affect the environment and climate in some way, and that goes for both manufacturing and transport. The Corona crisis has led to extensive restrictions when it comes to transport of people and goods and industrial production. (A.R.)

Since many transports and industries now are at a standstill surveys have shown decreased levels of nitrogen dioxide in Italy and China. In all of Europe and in many other parts of the world, people stay at home, meaning fewer planes in the air and fewer vehicles in the streets, which combine result in less combustion and less emissions from these sources. (M.M)

Some say this is a short-term effect. What is your opinion?

That depends on how we act knowing the consequences of our life styles. If we can learn from the Corona crises and for example switch to online communication, there is a big likelihood that we can switch and start a long-term change. (A.R.)

Do you think this crisis can make us more aware of the environment?

First of all, I think the analysis of this crisis will focus on other areas. But it will be a very interesting analysis how to interpret environmental aspects in relation to societal development and here we can learn a lot. (A.R.)



Karlstad university is at the forefront in climate and public safety research. In order to enable larger research projects and developed international collaborations, the former CNDS collaborative partner Centre for Climate and Safety (CCS) and Centre for Public Safety (CPS) have now been merged into a new centre: the Centre for Societal Risk Research (CSR). So CNDS now welcomes CSR as our new collaborative partner from Karlstad University.

In a society where risk and safety issues becomes increasingly complex and prioritized, research on such issues also needs to become more prioritized. Risk issues are trans-disciplinary in their nature and thus they require competences from nature science, social science, the humanities and medicine in the quest for answers and solutions.

"With over ten years experience of successful research and collaboration we have are in a good position for advancing this area," says Mikael Granberg, CNDS fellow and one of two directors of the new CSR. 

CSR will focus understanding and the management of societal risks. At the same time it is important that our respective areas of expertise remain and are nurtured. In addition, our existing networks on the local to international levels in the fields of climate and public safety will also have a lot to gain from the new research centre and its wider focus. This is why the new centre has opted to have two directors.

"The main issues we address revolve around the causes and consequences of societal risks as well as society's vulnerability and capacity to handle these risks," says Finn Nilson, also director of CSR. "This is why we will utilise and deepen our multi-disciplinary knowledge on societal risks, risk management, societal planning, and governance."

One of CSR's strengths lies in its ability to link research to societal practices by drawing upon knowledge building through research, learning and collaboration in projects and tailor-made education.

The Centre for Societal Risk Research's start page can be accessed here.



Nasa picture of the Earth at night

The hunt for timely and accessible data can be an endless story for scientists relying on geographic information to reveal new knowledge about human and environmental processes. Earth Observation, which is the gathering of information about the physical, chemical, and biological systems through remote sensing, is today a highly vibrant field, as new datasets are continuously being released and developed. These large-scale datasets span from being remotely sensed images, to being measured on the ground and given in point format. In between, a wide number of datasets are being released, building on and combining with other datasets.

In a recent study published in WIREs Water, researchers from the Swedish Uppsala University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology have created and structured a collection of freely accessible global datasets to support future studies on floods, droughts, and their interactions with changing societies.

CNDS PhD candidate Sara Lindersson says that the aim is to provide a systematic collection of datasets, mainly targeting readers from the domain of water-related disaster research. “But we also think that the review can interest a wider audience. Our collection of datasets covers a broad spectrum of environmental and socioeconomic variables spanning from river discharge measurements to population density maps, since the very core of disaster research is interdisciplinary. Global datasets can also be valuable for local studies, especially when located in data-poor regions.”

Professor Giuliano Di Baldassarre, one of the study’s authors, states that “these new datasets offer unprecedented opportunities for the study of floods and droughts in a rapidly changing world.”

There are, however, numerous challenges when using these large-scale datasets in scientific studies. One challenge relates to the fact that global datasets consequently tend to only capture large objects. According to Lindersson: “This can easily generate a mismatch in scales, for example, if you are attempting to use a global flood hazard map in an urban-scale study and the river flowing through the city is too small to even be included in the global map. The study of smaller disaster events is also affected by this data gap. For instance, a local flood event can end up being missed by both the remotely sensed flood maps and the disaster loss databases, which only consider severe events that fulfil specific disaster loss thresholds, such as at least 100 affected people per event. This is ironic since it is typically the data-poor regions that suffer the most from local, low-severity but frequent, disaster events.”

The review of datasets confirms that we are currently more skilled at mapping the hazard and exposure components of the risk equation, compared to vulnerability aspects. Lindersson gives the example of flood risk analysis: “We know which areas are under risk of being flooded, where we have buildings, and how these components have evolved over time. We are less skilled, however, at mapping factors that can affect the capacity to withstand a disaster, such as level of income. But I am quite optimistic that we will soon see further progress in capturing vulnerability aspects as well, not least due to very high-resolution satellite imagery in combination with machine learning techniques.”

The review can be found on WIREs' website.

This news item was orginally written by Sara Lindersson for Advanced Science News, which  highlights new and exciting developments from across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines including healthcare, materials science, sustainability, nanotechnology, energy, and electronics. Advanced Science News collaborates with scientists from around the world to provide an accessible platform for cutting-edge research.



The research and collaboration project SPLASH has come to an end. The final project results and achievements were presented at a seminar at Länsförsäkringar's office in Jönköping, where the project had started two years earlier. Around twenty participants from several insurance companies, municipalities, and universities attended the final project seminar.  This two-year project was funded by the Swedish Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelse).

The SPLASH project focused on the modeling of rainfall and the handling of insurance data with the aim of strengthening the Swedish capacity for disaster modeling. The municipality of Jönköping was used as a study area for carrying out an analysis of rainfall and future risks.

The SPLASH project was initiated from the fact that rainfall is becoming more frequent and the societal costs for it are increasing annually, and consequently, there is a great potential to utilize damage data from the insurance industry to better understand how and where the damage from rainfall occurs. However, the use of such data presupposes that it is possible to develop methods for secure management, which became of growing concern since the introduction of the EU Data Protection Regulation GDPR during the course of the project.

The final project seminar was concluded with discussions on how the project could proceed with the lessons and challenges that were identified during the project.



CNDS researchers at Karlstad University hosted a group of researchers from the University of West England, University of Gloucestershire, and Linköping University for a two-day workshop with the aim to address doing transdisciplinary research in collaboration with actors outside academia.​

Group picture of the researchers participating in the workshop

One of the main purposes of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for the researchers to meet and share research results with the aim to learn and be inspired but also to explore possibilities for deepened collaboration.

The background of the workshop is that professor Margareta Dahlström (Human geography and Director of the Centre for Research on Sustainable Societal Transformation at Karlstad University) met Dr. Daniel Keech (researcher at the Countryside and Community Research Institute at University of Gloucestershire) at the 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting (MGM) in Trondheim, Norway, in June 2019.

"Dan Keech held a very interesting presentation titled Circular Economy and Living Labs – potentials for a CE model of rural-urban governance in Gloucestershire, UK, and as I myself has been inspired by Living Labs in several transdisciplinary projects we immediately found a platform for discussion where the wish for and opportunities of collaboration quickly became clear to us," says Dahlström.

Following the conference more researchers have joined with what today might perhaps be best described as a network where the key element is that everyone shares an interest in this type of research, based in their different perspectives.

During the two fruitful days in Karlstad the researchers presented their research environments and even some of their own research and knowledge in the fields of sustainability transformation, climate adaptation and risk reduction. With this as a point of departure, they became to identify links between their areas of research and also had a wider discussion on the issues of transdisciplinarity and collaboration.

The guests also had time to visit the Centre for Societal Risk Research RiskLab where they were able to text the pedagogic models Riskville and Floodville.

"The workshop as such has been very inspiring and one additional result that we bring with us is a clear intention to arrange a special session in the field of transdisciplinarity at the next Nordic Geographers Meeting which will take place in Finland. We will also continue to explore opportunities for continued collaboration and networking," Dahlström concludes.

The workshop was arranged by the Centre for research on Sustainable Social Transformation at Karlstad university as part of its strategic focus on method development for transdisciplinary research. The workshop was arranged in collaboration with the Centre for Societal Risk Research, also at Karlstad University.

The workshop participants during one of the activities


  • Dr. Daniel Keech, Senior Research fellow at the Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Great Britain
  • Dr. Mike Ricketts, Associate Head of Department – Art, University of the West of England, Bristol, England
  • Professor Brita Hermelin, the Centre for Local Government Studies, Linköping University
  • Associate Professor Sara Gustafsson, Environmental Technology and Management, Linköping University
  • Professor Lars Nyberg, Risk- and Environmental Studies, Head of research at the Centre for Societal Risk Research at Karlstad University.
  • Dr. Nina Christenson, Researcher, Geography, Karlstad University.
  • Professor Margareta Dahlström, Human Geography, Director of the Centre for Research on Sustainable Social Transformation at Karlstad University.



Effects of Storm Gudrun in Sweden​CNDS PhD candidate at Karlstad University, Åsa Davidsson published the article "Disasters as an opportunity for improved environmental conditions" in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Here she presents case studies where disasters provided a window of opportunity for change that included social action with (potentially) positive effects on the environment. 

The research literature was screened for empirical cases in support of societal changes with a focus on environmental issues, and a more in-depth case study of the extensive tree felling after the storm Gudrun in Sweden 2005 was also conducted. The case study is explored through available research as well as “grey” literature to identify societal actions taken after the storm that had – or not – an effect on environmental conditions. With the help of the framework presented by Birkmann et al. (2010), the study aims to characterise the nature of these anthropic changes. The framework was modified to focus specifically on societal actions implemented because of an “open window”, and the environmental effects of the actions. This enabled identifying changes with a positive/negative and intended/unintended effect on the environment, as well as determining if a change was based on formal or informal decisions. Several cases identified in the literature provide empirical support for the theory that disasters can generate a window of opportunity for positive environmental change. However, open windows are not always exploited, as is apparent in the case of the storm Gudrun.



Corona cases on computer screen

​CNDS fellow Professor Daniel Nohrstedt and colleagues offer insights into the unfolding phenomena in their commentary, which draws on the lessons of the policy sciences literature to understand the dynamics related to COVID-19. They explore the ways in which scientific and technical expertise, emotions, and narratives influence policy decisions and shape relationships among citizens, organizations, and governments. They also discuss varied processes of adaptation and change, including learning, surges in policy responses, alterations in networks (locally and globally), implementing policies across transboundary issues, and assessing policy success and failure. They conclude by identifying understudied aspects of the policy sciences that deserve attention in the pandemic’s aftermath.

Read entire discussion and commentary on SpringerLink.


Corona virus

Although the Centre for Societal Risk Research at Karlstad University is part of CNDS, some of their research extends beyond the traditional boundaries of that which typically falls under the umbrella of disaster risk reduction but which is of interest and value for our efforts in understanding social dynamics and how they influence vulnerabilities, perceptions, governance, policies, institutions, and consequently the natural environment . In a new study at the Centre examines how elderly people in Sweden experience risk in regards of the ongoing corona-pandemic, their ability and willingness to handle the situation and their experiences of how mental health is affected by the situation.

About the study

The ongoing corona-pandemic has been rapidly developing and information on the new virus is extensive. The sorting among available information, knowing what applies to me as a person and how I should act can be a challenge. The situation as of April 2020 in Sweden is that elderly people (over 70 years of age) has been recommended to limit their social contacts to reduce infectivity. Both the labeling as member of a risk-group and that recommendations apply to me personally can feel very unfamiliar. Furthermore, following recommendations and limiting social contacts as well as worrying about the situation and disease can have effect for mental health.

This research project on experience of risk and mental health among elderly in Sweden in regards of Covid -19 is a two-year study funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB. The project is conducted at the Centre for Societal Risk Research at Karlstad University, Sweden.

The project aim is to analyze how elderly people in Sweden experience risk in regards of the ongoing corona-pandemic, their ability and willingness to handle the situation and their experiences of how mental health is affected by the situation.

The target group of the project is Swedish citizens that are part of the identified risk-group people over 70 years of age. One qualitative interview study and one quantitative inquiry will be conducted within the project frames. Utilizing a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative data analysis the researchers aim for results of both scope and understanding connected to the aim.  

The research project on Facebook [Swedish language page]


Johanna Gustavsson
The Centre for Societal Risk Research / Risk- and Environmental Studies
Phone: +46 54 700 2522

Linda Beckman
The Centre for Societal Risk Research / Public Health Science
Phone: +46 54 700 2495



"Policy and Society" Journal cover page

​CNDS fellows Charles ParkerDaniel Nohrstedt and Helena Hermansson, together with their colleagues in Canada, Denmark, and Australia, published the article  "Collaborative crisis management: a plausibility probe of core assumptions" in Policy and Society utilizing the Collaborative Governance Databank to empirically explore core theoretical assumptions about collaborative governance in the context of crisis management.

By selecting a subset of cases involving episodes or situations characterized by the combination of urgency, threat, and uncertainty, they conduct a plausibility probe to garner insights into a number of central assumptions and dynamics fundamental to understanding collaborative crisis management. Although there is broad agreement among academics and practitioners that collaboration is essential for managing complex risks and events that no single actor can handle alone, in the literature, there are several unresolved claims and uncertainties regarding many critical aspects of collaborative crisis management. Assumptions investigated in the article relate to starting-points and triggers for collaboration, level of collaboration, goal-formulation, adaptation, involvement and role of non-state actors, and the prevalence and impact of political infighting. The results confirm that crises represent rapidly moving and dynamic events that raise the need for adaptation, adjustment, and innovation by diverse sets of participants. They also find examples of successful behaviours where actors managed, despite challenging conditions, to effectively contain conflict, formulate and achieve shared goals, adapt to rapidly changing situations and emergent structures, and innovate in response to unforeseen problems.

Read the article on Taylor & Francis Online.



What is it like to lead a research group remotely during a full-brown pandemic? 
On the Curie pod, CNDS fellow Steffi Burchard tells us about her efforts to pursue research in the mist of the Covid-19 pandemic. But she also talks about the upcoming Swedish research government bill and the importance of funding and supporting basic research so that we can be better prepared for the next big crisis... no matter what that may be, whether it be a pandemic or a massive volcano eruption.

Together with her research group, Steffi studies what goes on in volcanoes before they erupt and the impact a looming volcano eruption threat has on the way we humans plan and organize our lives.

This podd is one in the newspaper Curie series "Från min forskningshorisont" where researchers share their daily experiences and tell us the issues that most inspire them in their research efforts.



Vallentin Troll recording for National Geographic ChannelThe National Geographic Channel has started a new series "X-Ray Earth" where the latest x-ray techniques are being used to explore the inner layers of Earth. CNDS fellow Valentin Troll (professor at Uppsala University's Department of Earth Sciences) is contributing to the production as an on-site scientist and as Chief Scientific Advisor.

The series reveals the mysteries beneath our feet, under trillions of tons of rock, lurk astonishing and deadly secrets. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions are all driven by hidden forces deep inside our planet. Now, using the latest scientific data from sensors and surface scans, we can x-ray the earth to reveal the dangers locked inside our planet. Using thousands of sensors and state of the art surface scan information, for the first time, we can create x-rays of the deep interior of our planet.

Read more about National Geographics miniseries X-Ray Earth on National Geographics' website (in Swedish).



Underground shopping mall in Montreal, Canada.
Underground shopping mall in Montreal, Canada.

City planning is entering  a new era and society will need to significantly enhance its use of the subsurface volume below the city landscape. The purpose of the project "SubCity: Future imaginaries of the city subsurface” is to contribute knowledge and solutions for developing Swedish spatial planning so that it creates the conditions to transform towards a sustainable society.

The full article can be found in the News section of Uppsala University's Department of Earth Sciences.



CNDS fellow and seimologist Björn Lund actively works with the Swedish seismic network (SNSN) and together with his seismologist  colleagues have observed a decrease in the Earth's vibrations since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Björn explains about about why this is the case in his interview on Swedish television (in Swedish). 

Read more about the Swedish seismic network on its website (in Swedish). 



The European Weather Extremes: Drivers, Predictability and Impacts (EDIPI) project aims to help us better understand the dynamics, predictability and impacts of temperature, precipitation (including drought) and surface wind extremes over Europe. Why does a specific type of weather extreme occur? How can we use this knowledge to better predict it? And finally, what are the likely impacts once it does occur? We will try to answer these questions by combining very different disciplines, from climate science, to statistical mechanics, dynamical systems theory, risk management, agronomy, epidemiology and more.

More about the EDIPI project

The EDIPI project is an MSCA-ITN-ETN or, more colloquially, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. The idea is to create a closely-knit group of universities, research centres and private-sector companies hinging around a cohort of doctoral students who all work on different aspects of the same broad topic. This will include research but also educational and science communication activities. EDIPI will be co-ordinated by CNDS fellow Gabriele Messori (Associate Professor at Department of Earth Sciences, Program for Air, Water and Landscape Sciences; Meteorology from Uppsala University) and with assistance from CNDS fellows Anna Rutgersson and Giuliano Di Baldassarre. Within the frame of the project, they plan to hire 14 PhD students, 3 of which in Uppsala and 11 elsewhere in Sweden and Europe. EDIPI consists of a core group of 9 universities and research centres and 11 partner organisations, including operational forecast centres and insurance and catastrophe modelling companies.

EDIPI aims to help us better understand the dynamics, predictability and impacts of temperature, precipitation (including drought) and surface wind extremes over Europe. The 14 PhD projects within EDIPI will, for example, use dynamical systems theory to understand future changes in destructive North Atlantic storms, provide improved forecasts of mortality related to temperature extremes in Europe, help us better understand how the skill of heatwave forecasts may be affected by climate change, and study vulnerability to compound hot/dry and hot/humid climate extremes.

Which universities will participate in the project?

Uppsala University, Stockholm University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, ETH Zürich, Institut Royal Météorologique de Belgique, Imperial College London, Barcelona Institute for Global Health and Tel Aviv University.

For more information, contact Gabriele Messori.



In a pandemic caused by a new virus, knowledge uncertainty is very high and it is precisely in this situation that the precautionary principle must be applied. This is the advice given by CNDS fellows Mikael Granberg and Finn Nilsson and their two other colleagues in a debate article in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The debate article is available in the Swedish newspaper online (in Swedish).



CriseIt cover photoThe project CriseIT 2 "Implementing Future Crisis Management Training" has successfully completed its first project year, but much of the foundation for the project was established during the first project effort "CriseIT" where the key insights, tools and methods were identified. CriseIT 2 takes these aspects one step further and maximizes their development potential. Now, CriseIT2 is in an exciting phase where they are testing, refining and further developing tools and the methodology in order to be able to implement an easily accessible, cost-effective and flexible crisis management concept.

Both CriseIT projects have contributed to the digitalization of crisis management as well as increased transborder crisis management collaboration, in particular in the border region of Värmland in Sweden and Hedmark in Norway. CriseIT 2 is a collaboration between CNDS affiliated Centre for Societal Risk Research at Karlstad University as well as the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Information Systems at Karlstad University, The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB), AppieMode AB, the County Governor of Hedmark, The County Administrative Board of Värmland, EON Reality AS, the municipalities of: Arvika, Årjäng, Hamar and Våler; and Strategisk Respons AS.

More about CriseIT

The project's vision is to develop an easy to use, cost-efficient, and flexible crisis exercise concept which promotes safety in Inner Scandinavia now and in the future. It aims to develop tools, methods, and educational materials which support this vision. New forms of training support will supplement traditional exercises by adding virtual tools that make it possible to practice crisis management “anywhere and anytime” via computers, tablets, and smartphones. This will provide the conditions needed to practice more often, with different persons, and in shorter sessions.

The goals of the project are to provide:

  • an analysis of needs and prerequisites for IT-based crisis training
  • software to support the entire process from the defining of needs for crisis training to bringing back the experiences into the organizations
  • a website offering tools for exercises and individual training
  • a method that supports an effective application of the IT tools for analysing, planning, conducting, and evaluating exercises
  • educational material that facilitates the use of the method and tools

More information about CriseIT is available on the project website.



Airplane with tree in the background
Photo from Dagens nyheter: Magnus Hallgren

When economic conditions are weak, there is a risk that climate change measure are not prioritized. At the same time, interest in sustainable investments is now greater than ever. Can the corona crisis become a catalyst for green technology?

The world's politicians have many problems to solve at the same time. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, there are climate change negotiations.

The International Energy Agency expects global emissions of greenhouse gases to decrease by eight percent in 2020 as a result of the corona crisis. But the effect is small if you consider that large parts of the world are at a complete standstill, says CNDS fellow Victor Galaz, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

"The fact that people have stopped traveling, are staying at home and working remotely simply does not have that kind of effect. This is only temporary. In order to reduce emissions in the long run, we need to change the underlying systems and the heavy-polluting sectors," says Galaz.

Read the entire article in Swedish in Dagen nyheter here.



Chess pieces on the globe
Photo: Mistra Geopolitics

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, Mistra, announced a 60 million SEK funding package to the interdisciplinary research programme Mistra Geopolitics. Uppsala University is one of the core partners in this programme.

In its second phase, 2021-2024, Mistra Geopolitics will cover diverse aspects on links between geopolitical and environmental change in four thematic work packages, food security, sustainable oceans, decarbonisation and emerging technologies. CNDS fellow Nina von Uexkull and her colleague at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Håvard Hegre,  will work on forecasting population displacement from complex emergencies, areas exposed to violent conflict and climate-related hazards. This subproject builds on the ViEWS forecasting infrastructure and will also recruit a new PhD student.

The Mistra Geopolitics programme is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute and includes the Universities of Linköping, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden, in addition to international partners. Nina von Uexkull will be node leader for Uppsala University and lead the Food Security work package of the research programme.



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A short and concise summary of the latest news from CNDS can be found on our website.



Corona virus medical animationHow has crisis management in the Swedish municipalities been carried out during the Corona pandemic? This is one of the issues being addressed in a study where CNDS researchers at Karlstad University together with their colleagues at Mid Sweden University are examining which municipalities have activated their crisis management committees and which have not.

The Center for Societal Risk Research, CSR, at Karlstad University, together with the Risk and Crisis Research Center, RCR, at Mid Sweden University, have been granted funding by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) to conduct a research study on if and how Swedish municipalities are activating their crisis management committees during the Corona pandemic.

By collecting information and conducting interviews in six municipalities, the researchers will investigate when, how, why and how long the crisis management committees have been activated. Research questions include: which issues and local factors correlated with activation, which decisions have been taken by the crisis management committees, and how  decision-making processes have been carried out. Collecting and analyzing this knowledge is valuable for theory development and can be used for the improving municipal crisis management.

- In a first step, we will gather information about which municipalities in Sweden activated their crisis management committees in 2020 as a result of the corona pandemic as well as details regarding when, how and why the committees were activated. "This information will then be analyzed to identify possible links with the spread of infection as well as the municipalities' demographics, political leadership and previous activation of the crisis management committees," says Mikael Granberg, professor of political science and director of CSR.

In the next step, interviews will be conducted in three municipalities where their crisis management committees have been activated and in three municipalities which have not activated them. 

Autonomous Swedish municipalites lead to different crisis management processes and strategies

"The Swedish municipal crisis management committees play an important role in the municipal crisis work and this is regulated by the Act on Extraordinary Events. However, the fact that there is a great deal of municipal autonomy means that the municipal crisis management committees are activated at different times, for different reasons and over different periods of time. There is no research-based knowledge of how this flexibility is used and how it is beneficial at the municipal level," says Jörgen Sparf, researcher at RCR.

The study was launched in June and the information gathering will take place throughout the year.



CNDS PhD candidate Maximilian Wanner is doing his doctoral thesis on participation and compliance in the Hyogo Framework for Action at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. His recent article discusses the effectiveness of soft law in international environmental regimes.

A number of recent international environmental regimes including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction rely on soft law featuring voluntary action, wide-ranging provisions for participants and non-binding commitments, while skirting the idea of sanctions. Because of the increasing prevalence of soft law regimes, their intuitional design attributes and characteristics give rise to new questions about regime effectiveness. Concepts such as compliance and participation that originate from the assessment of the effectiveness of hard law regimes need to be revisited and adapted to this new subset with its distinct characteristics. The aim of this study, then, is to empirically investigate the prospects of effectiveness in the specific case of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 on disaster risk reduction (DRR) as an illustrative case study of soft law regimes. The study, thereby, examines participation and compliance as key factors of regime effectiveness by analysing data and descriptive statistics based on national reports and their indicators on DRR measures. The study not only aims to advance the understanding of concepts central to the assessment of regime effectiveness in the context of soft law regimes. It also investigates DRR for the first time on a global scale from a regime effectiveness perspective documenting variation on the country level and serving as a guide to interesting cases and comparative research for future study.

Figure of the progress and decline in DRR measures across countries (2007-2015)
Figure of the progress and decline in DRR measures across countries (2007-2015)



In this new book, CNDS fellow Mikael Granberg and his colleague Leigh Glover have examined the political themes and policy perspectives related to, and influencing, climate change adaptation. It provides an informed primer on the politics of adaptation, a topic largely overlooked in the current scholarship and literature, and addresses questions such as why these politics are so important, what they mean, and what their implications are. The book also reviews various political texts on adaptation.



CNDS Director Prof. Giuliano Di Baldassarre was interview by Radio Sweden (Sveriges Radio) regarding the decreasing number of fatalities from natural hazard related disasters. He briefly discusses how individuals, communities and institutions around the world have become better in coping with natural hazards and saving human lives.

Listen to the entire interview on the radio's website (primarily in English but includes some parts in Swedish).

Summary and chart presenting data regarding absolute number of deaths per year caused by natural hazard related disasters.



Trafficked roadcross

It is widely accepted that cross-disciplinarity influences education in issues of sustainability and sustainable development. However, despite a large body of research on cross-disciplinarity, less attention has been given to how it shapes research education. Research education is a formative phase in a researcher’s intellectual development.

CNDS fellows (Malin MobjörkMikael Granberg, and Magnus Johansson) together with Camilla Berglund have written an article that considers the whole research education process, including both its formal and informal aspects. It explores this arena and builds on the experiences of PhD candidates engaged in research education characterised by cross-disciplinarity in the realm of sustainable development. Drawing on pedagogical research on socialisation, this article examines how research education is organised in four research milieus and the experiences of PhD candidates pursuing their education in these learning contexts. The aim is to provide insights into how these research milieus can facilitate future cross-disciplinary research education on sustainable development. The analysis finds that in research milieus that provide courses and seminars about cross-disciplinarity, PhD candidates are more confident in situating their own research. The engagement of senior staff and supervisors in these activities is also key to develop a conceptual apparatus and building the capacity to interact with different disciplines and practitioners. Furthermore, the findings show the importance of communicating about cross-disciplinarity throughout the research education process, starting when PhD candidates are recruited and supervisors are appointed.

The entire article can be accessed on NOASP's website.



In Bloomberg Opinion CNDS Director Giuliano Di Baldassarre provides some insight regarding the current pandemic drawing upon his academic perspective and the fact that he is an Italian living in Sweden.

According to Giuliano Di Baldassarre, consistency is a key component for ensuring Covid-19 policies are sustainable in the long run. In short, if the aim is to live with the virus until a treatment or vaccine is found, a stop-and-go approach to rules — such as the flip-flops most everywhere on whether face masks should be worn and where — might be counterproductive and make them impossible to enforce. So while Italy shows that alertness and intervention pay off, Sweden is a reminder that this is a marathon more than a sprint.

Admittedly, there are no quick fixes or perfect template for Covid-19. Every country is struggling to stay ahead of the game but are nevertheless making mistakes. But as we move into a new phase of this pandemic these two countries are clearly worth watching.

Read the entire piece written by Lionel Laurent on Bloomberg opionion's website.



The Journal of European Public Policy awarded CNDS fellow Charles F. Parker, Thomas Persson and Sten Widmalm with its 2019 Best Paper Prize.

JEPP's two-member jury (Charlotte Burns and Thomas Plümper of the Editorial Board) selected the paper by Parker, Persson and Widmalm as 2019's best paper because it applies a genuine public policy perspective to the substantively important field of natural disasters. In addition, the jury felt that the paper sheds light on both the logic and effectiveness of public policies and the importance of public policy for the resilience in natural disasters. They also liked the integration of EU public policies with a comparative perspective at the national level. The authors convincingly demonstrate that effective public policies provide an organizational framework with an effective crisis management. Both factors together provide the necessary interplay of a prestructered response that the affected population can trust upon and the flexibility needed because ultimately each disaster is different. The jury's decision was also influenced by our belief that the same analytical framework can be utilized by political scientists to analyze the effectiveness of the national response to the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, making the paper even more relevant for contemporary European public policies.

Charles' article can be accessed on Taylor & Francis Online.



Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Professor of Hydrology at the Department of Earth Sciences and Director of the Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), was awarded as the 2020 Paul A. Witherspoon Lecturer by the American Geoscience Union (AGU) that, with 62,000 members from 137 countries, is the world's largest society in Earth Sciences.

Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Professor of Hydrology at the Department of Earth Sciences and Director of the Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), was awarded as the 2020 Paul A. Witherspoon Lecturer Award by AGU that, with 62,000 members from 137 countries, is the world's largest society in Earth Sciences.

The Witherspoon Lecture Award recognizes ”significant and innovative contributions by mid-career scientists to the hydrologic sciences through research aimed at socially important problems and through mentoring of young scientists. The award is named to honor the life and work of Paul A. Witherspoon, an accomplished hydrologist who was a leader in the field for more than 50 years”.

Giuliano will be awarded during the AGU Fall Meeting this December. His distinguished lecture, entitled "Hydrological Extremes and Human Societies", will provide a vision for the future of socio-hydrology.

In his lecture, Giuliano will present interdisciplinary research exploring the way in which humans impact, and respond to, droughts and floods. Along with his research team, he integrates theoretical and empirical methods based on case studies, socio-hydrological models, and global analyses. He will also show how the unravelling of socio-hydrological phenomena can inform policy processes to reduce hydrological risk while assisting communities, governments, civil society organizations and private actors in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, the societal grand challenge of our time.

Read more about the American Geophysical Union´s nomination of Giuliano Di Baldassarre on AGU's website

Research portrait of Giuliano Di Baldassarre available on Uppsala University's website.

For more information, contact Giuliano Di Baldassarre:
Telephone:+4618-471 7162



"Resilience in the Pacific and the Carribean" book cover pageCNDS fellow Simon Hollis, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the Swedish Defence University, has recently published the book "Resilience in the Pacific and the Caribbean: The Local Construction of Disaster Risk Reduction" where he critically examines the global diffusion and local reception of resilience through the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programmes in Pacific and Caribbean island states.

Global efforts to strengthen local disaster resilience capacities have become a staple of international development activity in recent decades, yet the successful implementation of DRR projects designed to strengthen local resilience remains elusive. While there are pockets of success, a gap remains between global expectations and local realities. Through a critical realist study of global and local worldviews of resilience in the Pacific and Caribbean islands, this book argues that the global advocacy of DRR remains inadequate because of a failure to prioritise a person-orientated ethics in its conceptualization of disaster resilience. This regional comparison provides a valuable lens to understand the underlying social structures that makes resilience possible and the extent to which local governments, communities and persons interpret and modify their behaviour on risk when faced with the global message on resilience.



Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Director of the Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) and Professor of Hydrology at the Department of Earth Sciences, was awarded the Plinius Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). EGU is a non-profit international union of scientists with about 20,000 geo-scientists from all over the world. 

The Plinius Medal “recognises interdisciplinary research in natural hazards by active scientists. It is awarded to outstanding active scientists who meet the following criteria: outstanding research achievements in fields related with natural hazards, important interdisciplinary activity in two or more fields related with this topic, and research that has been applied in the mitigation of risks from natural hazards”.

About the Plinius Medal 

The Plinius Medal was established by the Natural Hazards Division to recognise interdisciplinary natural-hazard research. The name of Gaius Plinius Secundus (~23 – 79 A.D.) acknowledges the role of our ancestors working to improve both knowledge and mitigation of natural hazards. From 2002–2003 (EGS) and 2004–2011 (EGU) it was awarded to early career scientists. Since 2012 the medal recognises interdisciplinary research in natural hazards by active scientists. Its is awarded to outstanding active scientists who meet the following criteria: outstanding research achievements in fields related with natural hazards, important interdisciplinary activity in two or more fields related with this topic, and research that has been applied in the mitigation of risks from natural hazards. 

The EGU's Medals and Awards

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named the 51 recipients of next year’s Union Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards. These individuals are honoured for their important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences. They will be celebrated with the opportunity to give a guest lecture during the EGU General Assembly 2021, which will be held from 25–30 April. Read more about the other awards granted on EGU's website.

The original news item can be accessed on the Department of Earth Science's website



Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Professor of Hydrology at the Department of Earth Sciences and Director of the Centre for Natural Disaster Science, has recently won two very prestigious scientific awards within just a few days.

​Giuliano Di Baldasarre has been selected for the Witherspoon Lecture Award by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest association of researchers in earth sciences, atmospheric sciences, oceonography, hydrology, planetary sciences and space physics, and has also been awarded the Plinius Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

“It is pleasing and rewarding to receive attention from the two largest organisations in earth sciences research. It constitutes an endorsement for many years of hard work” he says.

This recognition not only means greater international visibility for Di Baldassarre, but it also means sharing the glory with his research teams at the Department of Earth Sciences and the Centre for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS).

“Receiving these awards will give us an extra energy boost in our day-to-day research. Moreover, international awards can help us play an important role in the advancement of research linked to the interaction between natural disasters and human societies.”

Interview conducted by Johan Ahlenius



Today, CNDS Director Giuliano di Baldassare is  being awarded the Thuréus Prize by the Swedish Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala with the motivation "for his study of floods, in particular the complex relationship between water flows, population dynamics and susceptibility". 

The prize consists of a monetary gift of 75 000 kronor as well as a certificate. 

The Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala was founded in 1710 and is Sweden's oldest academy of science. It is a still active and committed academy that, among other things, supports Swedish research of the highest quality by awarding prizes and rewards to deserving researchers.

One of the Royal Society of Sciences prizes includes the (Lilly and Sven) Thureus Prize. This prize was instituted upon a donation from Lilly and Sven Thureus in 1971. Originally it was a one-time prize, but at present it is awarded annually.



CNDS Director Giuliano Di Baldassare was interviewed on the Swedish radio program Vetenskapsradio På djupet about the methods and responses that are being discussed to deal with the fact that climate change is contributing to rising sea levels that are invading coastlines and forcing millions of people to flee. 

At first glance, the threat and problems may seem insurmountable with huge numbers of people being forced to become climate refugees. But historical experiences show that densely populated coastal communities have been able to withstand dramatically rising sea levels. However in those past cases it has not been about sea level changes due to global warming, but rather that the cities have sunk in relation to the sea. In efforts to counter this, new technology and methods were developed to hold back the sea
The following have contibuted to the radio program includes: Robert Nicholls, Professor of Coastal Engineering and Head of the Tyndall Center at the University of East Anglia, Giuliano di Baldassarre, Professor of Hydrology at Uppsala University and Head of the CNDS Center for Natural Disaster Science, and Gia Destouni, Professor of Hydrology at Stockholm University.

The discussion can be listened to on Swedish radio's website.



EGU's logo​The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, which  every spring attracts over 16,000 participants from more than 110 countries, will next year be held virtually  "vEGU21: Gather online" on 19-30 April 2021. 

The EGU General Assembly brings together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience. The EGU is looking forward to cordially welcoming you at its General Assembly and is now accepting conference papers. Abstract submission is now open with the deadline being 13 January 2021. Several of conference sessions are being organized by CNDS fellows, including the following:

HS5.1.2 EDI
Advances in sociohydrology
Convener: Giuliano Di Baldassarre 
Co-conveners: Mohammad Ghoreishi, Britta Höllermann, Melanie Rohse, Murugesu Sivapalan

Interplay between natural hazards and vulnerable societies in the context of global change 
Co-organized by HS13
Convener: Johanna Mård
Co-conveners: Korbinian Breinl, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Michael Hagenlocher

A Climate and Ecological Emergency: Can a pandemic help save us…? 
Convener: Nick Everard 
Co-conveners: Hannah Cloke, Hayley Fowler, Chloe Hill, Iain Stewart 

HS1.2.4 EDI
Panta Rhei: hydrology, society & environmental change 
Convener: Fuqiang Tian
Co-conveners: Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Heidi Kreibich, Jing Wei

HydroInformatics: Bayesian statistics in Hydrology 
Convener: Hannes Müller-Thomy
Co-conveners: Harsh Beria, Nilay Dogulu, Sina Khatami, Maurizio Mazzoleni

NH9.1 EDI 
Global and continental scale risk assessment for natural hazards: methods, practice and open loss and risk assessment 
Convener: Philip Ward 
Co-conveners: Hannah Cloke, James Daniell, John K Hillier, Hessel Winsemius

HS3.6 EDI 
Innovative sensing techniques for water monitoring, modelling, and management: satellites, gauges and citizens 
Convener: Fernando Nardi
Co-conveners: Thaine H. Assumpção, Wouter Buytaert, Serena Ceola, Maurizio Mazzoleni

Large-sample hydrology: characterizing and understanding hydrologic diversity 
Convener: Wouter Knoben 
Co-conveners: Nans Addor, Sara Lindersson, Sandra Pool, Nicolas Vasquez

NP2.2 EDI 
Extremes in geophysical sciences: drivers, methods and impacts quantification 
Convener: Davide Faranda 
Co-conveners: Carmen Alvarez-Castro, Gabriele Messori

SC4.10 EDI 
Statistical and Dynamical Methods for Geophysical Extremes 
Convener: Valerio Lucarini 
Co-conveners: Carmen Alvarez-Castro, Davide Faranda, Vera Melinda Galfi, Gabriele Messori

Thermodynamics and energetics of the oceans, atmosphere and climate 
Convener: Valerio Lembo 
Co-conveners: Gabriele Messori, Remi Tailleux

Operational forecasting and warning systems for natural hazards: challenges and innovations 
Convener: Céline Cattoën-Gilbert 
Co-conveners: Michael Cranston, Femke Davids, Ilias Pechlivanidis

The Dynamics of Magmatic Plumbing Systems 
Convener: Catherine Annen 
Co-conveners: Deepak, Chiara, Chiara P Montagna, Tobias Schmiedel, Gregor Weber

GD6.2 EDI 
The Arctic connection - plate tectonics, mantle dynamics and paleogeography serving paleo-climate models and modern jurisdiction 
Convener: Rebekka Steffen 
Co-conveners: Owen Anfinson, Frances Deegan, Karolina Kośmińska, Grace E. Shephard



CNDS PhD candidate Maximilian Wanner recently published preliminary findings from his doctoral project on the drivers of change in national disaster governance under the Hyogo Framework for Action.

Maximilian Wanner asserts that while many suggestions have been made on what motivates countries to expand their measures for disaster risk reduction (DRR), including the frequency and severity of natural hazards, accountability mechanisms, and governance capacity, few studies have attempted to explain the substantial variation in the adoption of DRR measures across countries. This, despite the fact that theoretical arguments have been developed and evidence collected from small-scale case studies.

Therefore, his study combines available data on DRR measures, natural hazard events, governance, and socioeconomic characteristics to provide a systematic assessment of the changes that have occurred in the state of DRR at the national level. In line with theoretical explanations, there are indeed associations between several measures of frequency and severity and the development of DRR status. Additionally, voice and accountability mechanisms, as well as development aid, might facilitate positive change. Although these first results of a global comparative study on change in DRR have to be taken cautiously, it is a step forward to understanding the drivers of change at the national level.

Read the entire article on Cogitatio's website.

Last modified: 2021-08-09