News from 2022
Numerical modeling of extreme wave interaction with point-absorber using OpenFOAM
New article on extreme wave interactions published by CNDS fellows, Eirini Katsidoniotaki and Malin Göteman (Uppsala University). The two have chosen 100-year extreme waves from the environmental contour of the Humboldt Bay site in California, and modeled their interaction with the WEC using the open-source CFD software OpenFOAM. Article available on ScienceDirect's website.
The Relationship Between the Concentration of NO2 and the COVID-19 Epidemic
CNDS fellow, Gianmarco Pignocchino's paper on satellite data and epidemic cartography has been recently published and we recommend reading it if you are interested in understanding the relationship between the concentration of NO2 and the COVID-19 epidemic.
Drought and society: Scientific progress, blind spots, and future prospects
Power relations & uneven distribution of risks should be considered explicitely: Society is not homogeneous, decisions are not apolitical.
CNDS Fellows, Elisa Savelli, Giuliano Di Baldassarre (Uppsala University), Maria Rusca (University of Manchester) and Hannah Cloke (University of Reading) have recently published a review of the physical and engineering sciences on the ways and extent to which they take into consideration the social processes in relation to the production and distribution of drought risk.
Access to water - also a potential issue in Sweden
Even though there seems to be enough water on Earth, it is not accessible everywhere and to everyone.
In a recent interview by the Communication Department at UU, CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Professor of Hydrology and Environmental Analysis at Uppsala University and Susann Baez Ullberg, together with other colleagues from the Uppsala University Sustainability Initiatives’ network “Water, a Shared Critical Resource” and the CIRCUS network “Aquifers of the Anthropocene" discuss the injustices surrounding the world's water and forward ideas regarding how we, in Sweden, need to approach this matter.
Latest status after La Palma volcano disaster
Massive clean up efforts and a major reconstruction are currently underway on the volcanic island of La Palma after the volcano eruption stopped at the end of last year.
Prof. Valentin Troll (Uppsala University) has been involved in researching the volcano's activity on the ground and the consequences of the eruption on the population and infrastructure of the island. His reports on the situation on La Palma are available on Sverigesradio's website (in Swedish and English) or on SVT's website (in English).
Top: The lava fields of the 2021 la Palma eruption viewed from the NW edge of the field. Bottom: Ash remnants in San Nicolas church square and cleanup of a court yard in Las Manchas, both ca 2 km from the main volcano vent.
Copulas for hydroclimatic analysis: A practice-oriented overview
One function that can be used in analyzing the risks of compound events, given their disproportionately high adverse impacts is Copula. This mathematical function expresses the joint cumulative probability distribution of multiple variables.
CNDS Fellow, Faranak Tootoonchi (Uppsala University), together with colleagues worked on emphasizing this function's fundamental requirements and application limitations. The paper makes sure to:
- "provide end-users with a didactic overview of necessary requirements, statistical assumptions and consequential limitations of copulas,
- synthesize common perceptions and practices, and
- offer a user-friendly decision support framework to employ copulas, thereby support researchers and practitioners in addressing hydroclimatic hazards, hence demystify what can be an area of confusion".
Anna Rutgersson in Royal Swedish Academy of Science
CNDS Fellow, Anna Rutgersson (Uppsala University) was elected as new member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in the geosciences class. Anna is Professor in meteorology and her research focuses on the interaction between sea and atmosphere, an important part of the climate.
Workshop on ISIMIP for impacts of compound events
CNDS Fellow, Gabriele Messori (Uppsala University) will be organising a small workshop focussing on the use of ISIMIP data for the study of impacts of compound climate events. The workshop will run from the 21st March to the 22nd March and will be directed to employees at the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University.
ISIMIP is a compilation of over 130 harmonized climate model simulations data sets aimed at quantifying cross-sectoral climate impacts under diferent levels of global warming relative to pre-industrial conditions. Read more about the data sets on UNFCCC's website.
Hidden weaknesses within volcanoes may cause volcano collapse
Lava domes form at the top of many volcanoes when viscous lava erupts. When they become unstable, they can collapse and cause a hazard. An international team of researchers has analysed summit dome instabilities at Merapi Volcano, Indonesia. The researchers hope that by understanding the inner processes, volcano collapses can be better forecasted.
Catastrophic volcano collapses and associated explosions, like the famous collapse of Mt St Helens in 1980, are widely considered as unpredictable. This is because the physical properties, stress conditions, and internal structure of volcanoes and the lava domes on top of many volcanoes are not well understood and can change rapidly from one day to another.
In this new study jointly led by Gadja Mata University in Yogyakarta Indonesia, Uppsala University in Sweden, and the German Research Center GFZ at Potsdam, CNDS Fellows, Valentin Troll and Frances Deegan, together with colleagues explain summit dome instabilities and associated pyroclastic flows at Merapi volcano, Indonesia. The study combines novel drone-based photogrammetry surveillance over several years with mineralogical, geochemical, and mechanical rock strength measurements.
The research demonstrated that a horseshoe-shaped fracture zone in the volcanoes summit region that formed in 2012 and which guided intense gas emission in the past was subsequently buried by renewed lava outpourings in 2018. The new lava dome that has been forming since 2018 started to show signs of instability in 2019 and the researchers were able to show that the summit dome of the volcano is currently collapsing along this now-hidden fracture zone. The research team then considered the changes that must have occurred along this now buried fracture zone from long term gas flux by measuring the composition and physical properties along similar fracture zones in the volcano’s summit region, and concludes that weakened rocks of the hidden fracture zone are likely the main cause for the location of the ongoing summit instabilities at Merapi.
This finding now offers an opportunity for monitoring teams at volcanoes to better forecast locations of potential volcano collapse by employing long-term remote sensing monitoring techniques to assess the hazards associated with summit dome and edifice failure and collapses at active volcanoes worldwide.
Newly awarded Docents within CNDS
Our Reference Group Member, Ilias Pechlivanidis (SMHI) has just been awarded the title of Docent (Associate Professor) at Uppsala University, Department of Earth Sciences, in Geosciences with a focus on Environmental Analysis.
The same goes for our CNDS Fellow, Dr. Claudia Teutschbein (Uppsala University), awarded the same title, on the topic of hydrology.
SSF individual grants for Ukrainian scientists, 2022
The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) has allocated 30 million Swedish crowns to finance research grants for Ukrainian scientists seeking professional refuge in Sweden.
CNDS would like to support this initiative and invite Ukrainian nationals looking for professional refuge in Sweden to join us at Uppsala university. The conditions for researchers to be able to join one of our research teams are that the researcher must:
- be a Ukrainian national,
- hold a PhD
- arriving in Sweden during 2022 and
- be employed by a Swedish university or research institute during the project period.
All kind of employment options are allowed from temporary positions such as postdocs and guest professors to more permanent positions, such as faculty professors. The researcher must conduct strategic research within one of the Foundation’s statute areas; Natural Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The grant will be paid to the Swedish host institution being a Swedish university or research institute that provides appropriate employment and administers the grant.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and eleven years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster
March 11 marks the day of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan that caused thousands of fatalities and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. On the same day, two years ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic. These two crises are emblematic of how natural hazards and related disasters continue to pose a major threat to societies. Droughts and floods, for example, affect more than 100 million people per year, and cause catastrophic losses in many regions of the world. While we cannot prevent extreme weather events, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and pandemics from occurring, societies can become more prepared and reduce vulnerabilities to mitigate their impacts and reduce losses.
The Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) is an interdisciplinary research centre in Sweden that brings together early career scientists and leading researchers from engineering, social and earth sciences to work together in projects on natural hazards, socio-technological vulnerabilities, and societal security. The vision of the centre is to advance disaster risk reduction and contribute to enhancing society’s ability to prepare for and cope with natural hazard risk in the national and international context.
CNDS is a virtual research centre that was formed in 2010 when the Swedish Government marked natural hazards and disaster science as a strategic research area. Today, CNDS is Sweden’s leading research centre on natural hazards, disaster risk reduction and crisis management, comprising ten departments from three universities (Uppsala University, Swedish Defence University, and Karlstad University). During the last decade, more than 30 PhD students have graduated from the centre, which currently counts 28 active early career scientists (postdocs and PhD candidates). CNDS also supports early career researchers who advance in the field of interdisciplinary natural hazard and disaster science by awarding the CNDS Interdisciplinary Grants.
The centre contributes to the international educational curricula of disaster risk reduction through its renowned international research Summer School on Natural Hazards for doctoral students. Through the biennial conference Forum for Natural Hazards and Disasters and many national and international collaborations, CNDS keeps an open dialogue with practitioners in the field.
Please read more on our website about the centre and our upcoming events, e.g., the upcoming research seminar “Two years into the pandemic” on 22 of March, CNDS Summer School on Natural Hazards (22-26 August), and CNDS Forum for Natural Hazards and Disasters (20 October).
Climate Emergencies in Australian Local Governments: From Symbolic Act to Disrupting the Status Quo?
The paper examines the emerging phenomenon of climate emergency declarations. The case study is based on Victoria Australia and 30 other councils which have declared a climate emergency, particularly focusing on three of them. The drivers, meanings, and implications and to what extent the subsequent plans reflect a reframing of local government roles and actions are examined. The authors found thart the emergency declaration movement is catalysing councils beyond symbolic declarations potentially opening up space for change and disruption.
Congratulations to the recipients of the CNDS Interdisciplinary Grant 2022
Every year, CNDS encourages 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.
This year, the following ECS have applied and have been selected to receive funding:
- Sara Lindersson (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University) for her research on "Spatial patterns of human-modified river droughts and conflict events"
- Elena Raffetti (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University) for her research on "Effects of extreme temperature on human health: Past trends and future scenarios"
- Kristina Petrova (Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University) for her research visit to Columbia Climate School and its Earth Institute at Columbia University
CNDS Fellows cited in IPCC report
Two of our Fellows, Charles Parker (Department of Government, Uppsala University) and Frederike Albrecht (Department of Political Science and Law, Swedish Defence University) have worked together on a book chapter regarding the Montreal Protocol’s success and observes that participating Parties have complied with their targets to reduce ozone depleting substances- which has now been cited in the latest IPCC report.
People’s Perception of Nature-Based Solutions for Flood Mitigation
If you are interested in finding out more about the perceived efficacy of nature-based solutions for flood mitigation, the new study conducted by CNDS Fellow, Elena Mondino (UU) with colleagues is open-access. The article found, among other results that connectedness to nature is associated with perceived efficacy of the nature-based solutions.
Junior Investigator Award: Elena Raffetti
In november 2021, Karolinska Institutet (KI) called out for internal junior researchers to apply for the Junior Investigator Award with their research related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
One of the awarded researcher is Elena Raffetti (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University), our fellow who also works at KI, for her project on the topic of "Extreme temperatures, adverse health effects and future scenarios". Read more about the award and Elena's project on Karolinska Institutet's website.
Floods, communal conflict and the role of local state institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa
Does the occurrence of flood disaster increase the risk of communal conflict and if so, does trust in state political institutions mitigate the adverse effect?
Our CNDS Fellow, Kristina Petrova, has been looking into this issue and addressed the abovementioned questions by studying the intervening effect of trust in local governmental institutions at a sub-national level. She concludes that climate change is not a local phenomenon regardless of the need for national and local political structures in mitigating its effects. In addition, Kristina identifies the need for further research on the interactive role between international governance, national regimes and local level leadership as a way to better understand the relationship between climate change and the risk of communal conflict.
Her research has been recently published under the title "Floods, communal conflict and the role of local state institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa" in Political Geography.
1st in Sweden and among top 75 in the world in the academic subject Water Resources
Uppsala University has been ranked (for the fifth year in a row) as the 1st university in Sweden, as well as among top 75 in the world in the academic subject “Water Resources”, according to the latest Shanghai-ranking (Academic Ranking of World Universities).
Strong international collaboration remains the main strength. This solid outcome over the past five year has been made possible by the scientifically and socially relevant work done by several scientists at the Department of Earth Sciences and the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS).
Pandemic responses at the subnational level: Exploring politics, administration, and politicization in Swedish municipalities
How did Swedish municipalities deal with the pandemic? The national response has been the highlight all over the world but little focus was given to the subnational level.
Thus, CNDS fellow, Mikael Granberg, together with colleagues, dived into the politics, administration and politicization of the municipal response to the pandemic in Sweden. The article investigates the decision making processes and found, inter alia, that only a quarter of the municipalities activated the extraordinary crisis management committee while a majority of them had an alternate special organization in place. More interesting conclusions and results can be found in the article.
Panta Rhei workshop on Drought in the Anthropocene (invitation only)
The next Panta Rhei workshop on Drought in the Anthropocene will be organised on 29-30 August 2022 at CNDS/Uppsala University. The workshop can be attended by invitation only.
As working group we intend to investigate the interaction between drought and people. We aim to study the influence of people on drought, the impact of drought on people and the feedbacks between drought and society. Our overarching goal with these experiments is to increase understanding of drought-society feedbacks, both positive and negative.
Contact person: Anastasiya Shyrokaya, firstname.lastname@example.org
Exploring disaster impacts on adaptation actions in 549 cities worldwide
Whether disasters influence adaptation actions in cities is contested. Yet, the extant knowledge base primarily consists of single or small-N case studies, so there is no global overview of the evidence on disaster impacts and adaptation.
In a recently published article, CNDS Fellows, Daniel Nohrstedt, Jacob Hileman, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Charles Parker (Uppsala university) and Maurizio Mazzoleni (VU Amsterdam) use regression analysis to explore the effects of disaster frequency and severity on four adaptation action types in 549 cities. Comparisons between cities across levels of adaptive capacity indicate a wealth effect. More affluent countries incur greater economic damages from disasters, but also have higher governance capacity, creating both incentives and opportunities for adaptation measures.
The water crisis in Europe can be catastrophic
Drought and unusual high temperature have impacted countries in south Europe, resulting in a water crisis at the beginning of summer. CNDS Director, the hydrologist Giuliano Di Baldassarre argues that if the situation continues, it will be catastrophic.
He discusses further the issue of rain scarcity in combination with high temperatures in an article available on SVD's website (in Swedish).
Nina von Uexkull awarded the Uppsala University's Oscar prize
CNDS Fellow (former PhD student and CNDS management team member), Nina von Uexkull has been awarded Uppsala University's Oscar prize for her research on the relationship between climate change and conflict.
One of the main topics in Nina's research is the security implications of climate change for which she focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration.
Multiform flood events must be appropriately defined to avoid misrepresentation of climate risk, to prioritize action in areas with disproportionate impact
One of the most recent articles published on the topic of flood risk in the contemporary world is released in the August edition of the Environmental Research Letters Journal (vol 17, no.8) under the title Multiform flood risk in a rapidly changing world: what we do not do, what we should and why it matters. Co-authored by well-known scientists in the fields of hydrology, climate and disaster science of whom one is CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre and led by Andrew Kruczkiewicz, the article identifies challenges and potential consequences related to the oversimplification of disaster type representation in risk assessment and adaptation program design, focusing on non- or mis-assignment of flood type.
The publication provides the scientific, humanitarian, policy and financial communities with new insights in improving multiform flood risk assessment and policy development, such as disaggregation by flood subtype, the resilience of investors' balance sheets, implications for financial stability and climate risk disclosure, appropriate prioritization of resources for humanitarian action, and roles for the private sector, etc.
In order to address the trans-disciplinary knowledge gaps identified by the authors, they propose designing incentive structures for the financial sector to disclose disaster risk in a more disaggregated way, improving modelling and characterization of multiform flood risks and leveraging satellite data to characterize this risk. They also state the importance of risk communication, and how new standards in messaging could save lives by clearly stating which types of disasters, such as flood types, are captured – and which are not.
“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us that compound events can and will occur, further increasing demand for compound risk assessments, as well as for efforts to tailor them to specific sectors and spatiotemporal contexts.”
The article provides evidence-based trans-sectoral recommendations to enable joint efforts for more effective anticipatory action, risk reduction and resilience building and can be accessed on IOPScience: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac7ed9/meta.
Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed: Andrew Kruczkiewicz, email@example.com.
Research visit from Bangladesh to Karlstad
Our colleagues from Karlstad University, as part of the Centre for Societal Risk Research and CNDS Fellows, Lars Nyberg and Jenni Koivisto, have been part of the delegation that welcomed a delegation of researchers from Bangladesh. The visit was part of an ongoing project, looking into the consequences of climate change to human health in Bangladesh by and aimed at developing a strong research network in the field of climate change and health.
Minister for Education, Anna Ekström visited Karlstad University
On August 31, CNDS Fellows from Karlstad University had the opportunity to meet Minister of Education, Anna Ekström and talk about their activities in RiskLab.
Top scientist on social media in Sweden
Our CNDS Fellow, Ashok Swain, is, according to the 2022 TwiLi Index for Sweden, the top scientist on social media in Sweden.
CNDS Fellow interviewed by BBC
CNDS Fellow, Björn Lund (Uppsala university) has been interviewed by several media outlets in regard to the two major leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines. His expertise in sesimology allowed him to claim that these were explosions.
6 million grant to EU project on water scarcity and climate change
CNDS Director, respectively fellow, Giuliano Di Baldassarre and Sina Kathami’s project TRANSCEND (Transformational and Robust AdaptatioN to water Scarcity and ClimatE chaNge under Deep uncertainty) has been selected for funding by the EU funding Horizon Climate.
This new EU project will be coordinated by the University of Salamanca (Spain). It involves 15 partner organizations from 13 different countries. It will receive EU funding for a total of 5.3 million EUR of which 602,000 EUR (above 6 million SEK) will go to the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala university.
Giuliano Di Baldassarre will be leading one of the work packages (WP3). Along with his research team at the Department, he will develop socio-hydrological models and methods for assessing water policies in several cases studies around the world.
Giuliano Di Baldassarre featured in a new article in National Geographic
CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre has been featured in a new article in National Geographic which was aiming at addressing the question: "Is building more dams the way to save rivers?"
Earlier this year, World Wildlife Fund conducted a study on hydropower dams globally, thus understanding that almost two out of three planned hydropower dams globally will be in river basins with very high or extreme risks for droughts, floods, or both, by the year 2050.
Already, hydropower generation has declined dramatically in many regions due to falling water levels in rivers. For some countries, such as Zambia, which gets most of its electricity from hydropower, losses in the amount of hydro-harnessed electricity can lead to major economic disruptions, which is what happened in the southern African country as a result of a decade-long drought that saw output decline by 40 percent.
Giuliano argues that “most scientists agree that these supply-demand cycles, or what we call rebound effects, might worsen the impact of drought and water shortage".
IRIDeS, ETH Zurich-Singapore Centre and CNDS in research collaboration meeting
On the 4th of November 2022, representatives from CNDS met representatives from IRIDeS and the Singapore Centre of ETH Zürich in order to discuss research areas of convergence. CNDS was represented by Klas Hjort (CNDS/UU), Steffi Burchart (CNDS/UU), Mikael Granberg (CNDS/KAU), Andra Covaciu (CNDS/UU) and Malin Göteman (CNDS/UU), while the external visitors were Takako Izumi (IRIDeS), Sebastien Boret (IRIDeS/Tohoku University), Jonas Joerin (Singapore ETH Center).
A climate-change attribution retrospective of some impactful weather extremes of 2021
CNDS Fellow, Gabriele Messori has co-authored a paper on the attribution of climate change to some of the weather extreme events from 2021. It is shown that the extreme events the authors investigate are significantly modified in the present climate with respect to the past, because of changes in the location, persistence and/or seasonality of cyclonic/anticyclonic patterns in the sea-level pressure analogues.
Securing future water supply through sustainable management - Formas grant
The project "Leap in Swedish freshwater monitoring for water supply risk mitigation", led by researchers from Lund University in collaboration with Stockholm University and with the contribution of CNDS Fellow, Johanna Mård, has been granted funding via Formas of around 16 mil. SEK.
Short description of the project: This project focuses on climate-related risks to water supply in southern Sweden and aims to: (i) Identify areas exposed to increased risk of climate impacts on water resources and water supply, ii) Develop new techniques for detailed monitoring of groundwater and surface water, and iii) developing a decision support system for artificial groundwater recharge to inform current and future water supply management.