News from 2021

(CNDS Director among top 2% scientists in the world making career-long impact


CNDS Director Giuliano Di Baldassare was ranked amongst top 2% of scientists in the world for career-long citation impact according to new citation ranking developed by Stanford University and published in the journal PLoS Biology.

The list of the top 2% researchers in the world is based on standardized citation values ​​for all scientific disciplines. These include information on citations, an individual’s scientific research output (or H-index), co-authorship, and a composite indicator for career-long impact. This study has classified CNDS Director on the top 2% based on his career-long citation impact. More information and the article with link to the dataset here: Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators.

The Climate Just City


Cities are increasingly impacted by climate change, driving the need for adaptation and sustainable development. Local and global economic and socio-cultural influence are also driving city redevelopment. This, fundamentally political, development highlights issues of who pays and who gains, who decides and how, and who/what is to be valued. Climate change adaptation has primarily been informed by science, but the adaptation discourse has widened to include the social sciences, subjecting adaptation practices to political analysis and critique. 

CNDS fellow Mikael Granberg and his colleague Leigh Glover critically discuss the just city concept in a climate adaptation context in the journal article "The Climate Just City" published in Sustainability. Together they develop the just city concept by describing and discussing key theoretical themes in a politically and justice-oriented analysis of climate change adaptation in cities. In addition, they illustrate their arguments by looking at recent case studies of climate change adaptation in three very different city contexts: Port Vila, Baltimore City, and Karlstad. They conclude that the social context with its power asymmetries must be given a central position in understanding the distribution of climate risks and vulnerabilities when studying climate change adaptation in cities from a climate justice perspective. 

Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction


Natural hazard events provide opportunities for policy change to enhance disaster risk reduction (DRR), yet it remains unclear whether these events actually fulfill this transformative role around the world. In an article in Nature, CNDS fellows Daniel Nohrstedt, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Charles F. Parker & Giuliano Di Baldassarre investigate relationships between the frequency (number of events) and severity (fatalities, economic losses, and affected people) of natural hazards and DRR policy change in 85 countries over eight years.

Their results show that frequency and severity factors are generally unassociated with improved DRR policy when controlling for income-levels, differences in starting policy values, and hazard event types. This is a robust result that accounts for event frequency and different hazard severity indicators, four baseline periods estimating hazard impacts, and multiple policy indicators. Although they were able to show that natural hazards are unassociated with improved DRR policy globally, the study unveils variability in policy progress between countries experiencing similar levels of hazard frequency and severity.

Read the entire article "Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction" here.

Congratulations to the recipients of the CNDS Interdisciplinary Grant 2021


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: Elin Stenfors (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University) and Konstantinos Karagiorgos (Karlstad University).

The legacy of large dams in the United States


CNDS fellows Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Maurizio Mazzoleni & Maria Rusca have recently published an article in Ambio on large dams in the U.S, where they show how chicken-and-egg dynamics of water supply & demand can generate lock-in conditions characterized by unsustainable levels of water consumption.

Center of mass (CoM) of human population (red dots) and dams (grey dots) in the period between 1840 and 2010. The map also shows the location of the geographical center of the contiguous US (green triangle), as well as the location of dams (Lehner et al. 2011) and population density (Fang and Jawitz 2018) in the year 2010

The sustainability of large dams has been questioned on several grounds. One aspect that has been less explored is that the development of dams and reservoirs often enables agricultural expansion and urban growth, which in turn increase water consumption. As such, dam development influences, while being influenced by, the spatial and temporal distribution of both supply and demand of water resources. In this paper, the authors explore the interplay between large dams, patterns of population growth and agricultural expansion in the United States over the past two centuries. Based on a large-scale analysis of spatial and temporal trends, they identify three distinct phases, in which different processes dominated the interplay. Then, they focus on agricultural water use in the Southwest region (Arizona, California and Nevada) and explore chicken-and-egg dynamics where water supply partly meets and partly fuels water demand. Lastly, they show that the legacy of dams in the United States consists of a lock-in condition characterized by high levels of water consumption, especially in the Southwest, which leads to severe water crises and groundwater overexploitation when droughts occur.

Link to the published article in Ambio.

Floods in the Anthropocene: the good, the bad and the ugly


CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, receiver of the Plinius Medal 2021 was interviewed by the European Geosciences Union (EGU), and gave his personal take on floods in the Anthropocene.

Floodplains have provided the potential for prosperous agriculture and for the development of organised communities and urban cultures. Contextually, flood events have caused millions of fatalities and invaluable economic losses throughout history. Over the past decades, human activities have increasingly altered the frequency, magnitude, and spatial distribution of flooding.

In this interview, Professor Giuliano Di Baldassarre analyses "the good", "the bad" and "the ugly" generated by the interplay of floods and society. Read the full interview with Giuliano Di Baldassarre here.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Guardian of Climate Science


CNDS Deputy Chair Charles Parker and CNDS fellow Eric Paglia have written a chapter on the IPCC, its impact after 30 years, and the challenges it faces in terms of its legitimacy and authority. Read the entire chapter here.

Transforming Local Climate Adaptation Organization: Barriers and Progress in 13 Swedish Municipalities


Local strategies and policies are key in climate adaptation, although research shows significant barriers to progress. Sweden, often seen as progressive in climate change issues, has struggled in adopting a sufficient local climate adaptation organization. CNDS ​fellow Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University) and his colleague Ann-Catrin Kristianssen (Örebro University) took a deeper look at this issue.

In their article they describe and analyze the climate adaptation organization in 13 Swedish municipalities from five perspectives: Problem framing, administrative and political agency, administrative and political structures, measures and solutions, and the role of learning. The mapping of these perspectives provides an opportunity to analyze barriers to local climate adaptation. Key policy documents have been studied including climate adaptation plans, crisis management plans, and regulatory documents, as well as documents from private consultants. Their study showed that few municipalities have a formal organization for climate adaptation, clear structures, political support, and specific climate adaptation plans. At the same time, many of the municipalities are planning for transformation, due to a push from the county board, a lead agency in climate adaptation. There are also ample networks providing opportunities for learning among municipalities and regions. Their study concluded that one key barrier is the lack of focus and prioritization in a majority of the municipalities, leaving the administrators, often planners, in a more activist position. The need for organizational mainstreaming and resources is emphasized.

Read the full article here.

Maladaptation as a negative assessment of adaptation


Maladaptation, as a negative assessment of adaptation, is an emerging component of the adaptation discourse, embracing theory, practice and review. There is a political critique of maladaptation which contrasts with the more conventional scientific and technical assessments of adaptation policies, programs and practices. CNDS ​fellow Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University) and his colleague Leigh Glover (Karlstad University) have researched the politics of maladaptation in-depth.

In their article, the two scholars outline the origins of the adaptation and maladaptation concepts, describe the key political issues, as well as identify the application of politics in the maladaptation discourse and the major political perspectives. The article answers the following three main questions: How Can We Understand the Political Identity of Maladaptive Adaptations to Climate Change?What Are the Problems in Trying to Understand Maladaptation as a Political Phenomenon? and What Are the Implications and Significance of the Politics of Maladaptation?. Conclusions on the state of the maladaptation discourse are drawn based on the political analysis conducted into the meaning of the social context of adaptations and its implications and consequences of adaptation.

Read the full article here.

4 million grant for Maurizio Mazzoleni’s EU Horizon 2020 project on Climate Services


Maurizio Mazzoleni’s EU Horizon 2020 project I-CISK has been selected for funding with an unprecedented score of 15.00 (out of 15)!

The project is coordinated by IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and involves 13 partner organisations from 10 European countries, and received a total of 5 million EUR of which 391,000 EUR (about 4 million SEK) will go to the department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala university.
CNDS Fellow Maurizio Mazzoleni will be leading one of the work packages. Along with his team, he will develop new models including social and behavioural factors into climate services.

Contribution to AGU's volume on Crustal Magmatic Systems


Abigail Barker, one of CNDS Fellows, and co-authors have contributed to AGU's volume on Crustal Magmatic Systems

A new book "Crustal Magmatic System Evolution: Anatomy, Architecture, and Physico-Chemical Processes" has been published in AGU’s Geophysical Monograph Series. The book presents an overview of crustal magmatic systems and explores variations within these systems through analytical, experimental, and numerical approaches.

Our fellow, Abigail Barker and co-authors have contributed with chapter 3 of this book on the topic of magma storage at Ocean Islands, with insights from Cape Verde.

Corona, crisis management and democracy

In the spring of 2020, many municipalities were taken by surprise by effects of the
Corona pandemic on services and management. The Corona pandemic was defined as an extraordinary event and staff functions and crisis management committees were activated.
CNDS fellow Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University) and his colleague, Stig Montin (University of Gothenburg) have recently published an article on the topic of whistle-blower protection at an extraordinary event (Covid-19 pandemic) in Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift. By the means of
their article, the two scholars aimed at shedding light on how two different institutional logics, one related to extraordinary events and the other related to freedom of information and whistle-blower protection for public employees.
The case showed a clash between these logics, emphasizing that even in an open democratic system, an extraordinary event can mean that the dissemination of information is limited.
They concluded that a crisis management system with complete transparency in all decision-making is neither possible nor desirable.

Support letters for CNDS


Karlstad University, Swedish Defence University, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and CNDS PhD students have voiced their acknowledgement of CNDS added value to the interdisciplinary community, expressing their will for continued collaboration by the means of support letters (in English and Swedish).

Desirable Effects from Disturbance Ecology


CNDS Fellow, Åsa Davidsson (Karlstad University), together with her colleagues, has recently published an article called "Desirable Effects from Disturbance Ecology—A Paradox within Conservation Management" in the journal Sustainability, describing and exploring whether natural disturbances are incorporated in the management of Swedish national parks and identifying possible examples of barriers for this incorporation.

The study is designed as a multiple comparative case study of propositions and management plans for 15 Swedish national parks established between 1962 and 2018. The results of the study indicated positive perceptions concerning the inclusion of disturbance ecology in the management of national parks. However, there are also obstacles and challenges around natural disturbances within Swedish national parks. These obstacles are, in some cases, explained by practical implications such as the closeness to surrounding societies and in others explained by paradoxes such as visitors’ perceptions of national parks and the wilderness.

The entire article can be read on MDPI's website.

Risk assessment methods for cloudburst damages


CNDS Fellow, Lars Nyberg awarded 3 million SEK to a three-year project on developing risk assessment methods for cloudburst damages.

The proposed project aims to develop methods for assessment of damages and costs caused by cloudbursts in Sweden. Applied on cloudbursts, the hazard is represented by rainfall amount and - intensity and the resulting water level, while the vulnerability is determined by the assets in the area affected by the cloudburst, such as buildings and infrastructure. Geographical factors such as the shape of the terrain play a role because the topography determines where and how fast the water flows. The project results can be used as decision support for risk reducing measures and climate adaptation.

More information about the project can be found on Karlstad University's website.

Collaborative crisis management


Building upon the field of collaborative crisis management, CNDS fellows, Erik Persson and Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University) published an article in the Journal of Risk Research, presenting their case study findings on contingency planning for dam failure risks.

In this study, they focus on events that can have broad and disastrous impacts on society, high degrees of uncertainty and potentially cascading effects, by conducting an in- depth case study of collaborative crisis management tasked with contingency planning for dam failure risk in a large river basin in central Sweden. Here they find that there was a lack in reach of the collaboration potentially limiting capacity and capacity building in ways that can limit preparedness and increase vulnerability in a crisis situation. They also found that contingency planning was treated as a demarcated project with a beginning and an end and not entirely as a continuous process.

Read the entire article on Taylor & Francis Online.

Ancient oral traditions and mastery of natural hazards


Merapi volcano in Central Java, Indonesia, is one of the most hazardous volcanoes in Southeast Asia, yet humans have inhabited the area around Merapi since ancient times. 

As a consequence, a rich but complex volcano-related folklore has developed. 
CNDS fellows Valentin Troll (Uppsala University), Frances Deegan (Uppsala University) and their colleague Nadhirah Seraphine (Uppsala University) have researched the role of local legends in rationalizing the dynamic interaction between the volcano and the frequent regional earthquakes through the rich oral traditions and ceremonies in the districts around Merapi.

Culture, religion and associated ceremonies are often used to communicate past societal experiences with respect to dangers and risk, including the threats from natural disasters. This type of ‘disaster sub-culture’ is well developed around Merapi volcano in Central Java, Indonesia, and has at times led to friction between official civil protection authorities and local communities. For instance, evacuation plans are not always readily accepted by some of the local population on Merapi's slopes due to sometimes opposing religious and cultural beliefs. Indeed, societies and individuals can hold multiple convictions simultaneously, and the cultural perception of a hazard greatly influences preparedness and the capacity to respond appropriately in times of crisis. In this context, ancient oral traditions often inform about successful mastery of natural hazards and associated difficult situations by previous communities.

Read the full article on Wiley Online Library.

Building a Sustainable Society: Construction, Public Procurement Policy and ‘Best Practice’ in the European Union


CNDS fellow, Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University), together with his colleagues, has recently published a new article on sustainable societies and procurement, investigating the tension between politically charged objectives and technological processes and market logics. Their research focused on studying policies related to sustainable public procurement of the built environment in the European Union.

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

Etna's ongoing eruption and Etna's historical significance


Mt Etna has made headlines over the last weeks and months with spectacular eruptions, some of them highly explosive. This type of paroxysmal eruptive behaviour is characteristic of Etna's activity over the past few decades and so it is no surprise that Etna is among the most active volcanoes worldwide.

CNDS fellows, Valentin Troll and Frances Deegan (Uppsala University), together with their colleagues, have recently published an article on the recent eruptive activity of Etna as well as the ancient myths and legends that surround this volcano, from the underground forge of Hephaestus to the adventures of Odysseus, including the benefits and dangers the volcano provides to those living on its flanks today.

Read the entire article on Wiley Online Library.

Article featured in AGU's Editors' Highlights


CNDS Fellows' paper on research methods to unravel human-water systems' complexity has been featured in the Editors' Highlights!

Integrating research methods to unravel the complexity of human-water systems and cope with uncertainty in sociohydrological predictions

CNDS Fellows, Giuliano Di BaldassarreSara LinderssonMaurizio MazzoleniElena MondinoJohanna MårdVincent OdongoElena RaffettiElena RidolfiMaria RuscaElisa SavelliFaranak Tootoonchi (Uppsala University) and Hannah Cloke (University of Reading) have recently published a paper on “Integrating multiple research methods to unravel the complexity of human-water systems”. The paper has been published in the AGU Advances Journal, volume 2, issue 3 and featured in the Editors’ Highlights.

This happens to fewer than 2% journal articles so we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our fellows for their tremendous work!

The paper can be accessed on AGU’s website.

CNDS Fellow on radio about extreme weather events


Anna Rutgersson on P3 radio discussing extreme weather events

Last week, CNDS Fellow, Anna Rutgersson (Uppsala University) visited the Swedish radio show Morgonpasset i P3 and talked about this summer's extreme weather events and how these can be related to global warming. The discussion can be listened via the link below (in Swedish):

Act before the creeping climate crisis becomes acute


Mikael Granberg and Lars Nyberg (Karlstad University) are debating the importance of climate change adaptation and underline that this is more important than municipalities' pursuit of growth.

They also argue that climate changes can be understood as a creeping crisis since its effects are long-term, have low intensitity but are gradually increasing.

Read more about their discussion in the debate article on Dagens Samhälle's website (in Swedish):

The first volcanic eruption on La Palma since 1971!


Incandescent fire fountains and lava flowing down hill towards the coast.

CNDS Fellow, Abigail Barker (Uppsala University) and coauthors have studied the 1971 eruption and the magma plumbing system that feeds eruptions like the current 2021 eruption. Their paper is available on ResearchGate.

In addition, CNDS Fellows, Steffi Burchardt and Björn Lund (Uppsala University) explained the volcanic hazards, progress and monitoring of the eruption. Steffi's interview on SVT (in Swedish) is available on the television channel's website.

CNDS Fellow, Valentin Troll (Uppsala University) has co-authored an article on the Macronesian Archipelagos, discussing that these are oceanic-island magmatic systems and discussing their similarities and significant differences. The article is available on ScienceDirect -

Equality must be included in climate action


In order to achieve climate justice, decision-making for climate adaptation must include broader social aspects such as power relations and conflicts of interest.

CNDS Fellow, Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University), remindes us that the climate is changing and this emphasizes more and more clearly that societies must adapt to the contemporary and future effects of these changes. 

However, Mikael emphasizes that climate change adaptation should focus on more than technological solutions to ecological problems. 

The entire article (in Swedish) is available on Altinget's website.

What will happen when the lava cools? The volcanologist Valentin Trolls has the answer


The volcano in La Palma has had several eruptions over the weekend, as seen in new dramatic images and CNDS Fellow, Valentin Troll (Uppsala University) tells us about what might be expected in the next couple of weeks.

Listen to the entire interview on SVT's website.

Municipal organisation of response to pandemic - a real-time study of local resilience

Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has recently published a real-time study conducted on the local resilience of the Swedish municipalities in response to the ongoing pandemic.

CNDS Fellow, Mikael Granberg (Karlstad University), is one of the co-authors and the study can be found on MSB's website (in Swedish).

Tackling the climate crisis using lessons from the Montreal Protocol


CNDS Board Deputy Chair, Charles Parker has co-authored, together with the climate scientist Paul Young, a blog post in Nature discussing the Montreal Protocol and the lessons it holds for tackling the climate crisis in advance of the COP26 summit in Glasgow. 

The entire blog post can be read on the Springer Nature Sustainability Community webpage.

Arching from Function to Form—Important Design Elements of Simulation Exercises (SimEx) in Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Management


"The increasing uncertainty with regard to emerging multi-hazard events, compound and cascading disasters, or complex emergencies requires well-suited, adequate preparedness and response structures able to anticipate the complexities of indistinct future risks."

This complexity is what CNDS Project Coordinator, Andra Covaciu, together with co-authors tried to address in their paper by describing some of the important design elements of simulation exercises (SimEx) in Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Management. The entire paper can be accessed on MDPI's website

10 months later - CNDS Director still in top 2% scientists in the world making career-long impact and 2020 global citations


The science-wide author database of standardized citation indicators developed by Stanford University has just been updated. 


CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, continues to be mentioned amongst top 2% of scientists in the world for both 2020 global citations and career-long impact.
The database is composed of over 100 000 top-scientists and divided based on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations and a composite indicator. Read more about the database and its recent update on Elsevier's website.

"Disaster risk reduction and the limits of truisms: Improving the knowledge and practice interface" featured on PreventionWeb


The most recent paper of a team of CNDS fellows, "Disaster risk reduction and the limits of truisms: Improving the knowledge and practice interface", led by Daniel Nohrstedt has been featured on PreventionWeb, the global knowledge sharing platform on disaster risk reduction, managed by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

The paper challenges oversimplified or unsubstantiated claims/assumptions in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and utilizes the SFDRR as an illustrative case to identify and interrogate ten selected truisms, from across the social and natural sciences, that have been prevalent in shaping DRR research and practice. The ten truisms concern forecasting, loss, conflict, migration, the local level, collaboration, social capital, prevention, policy change, and risk awareness.

The authors discuss central claims associated with each truism, relate those claims to insights in recent DRR scholarship, and end with suggestions for developing the field through advances in conceptualization, measurement, and causal inference.

The team of co-authors is composed of Charles ParkerNina von UexkullJohanna Mård,  Kristina PetrovaMalin GötemanJacob HilemanGabriele MessoriGiuliano Di Baldassarre (Uppsala University), Frederike Albrecht (Swedish Defence University) and Lars Nyberg (Karlstad University).

The paper can be accessed on PreventionWeb or on ScienceDirect.

La Palma volcano towards breaking a record - lava flow for 80 days


CNDS Fellow, Valentin Troll, one of Uppsala University's volcanologists is back to La Palma to assess the evolution of the volcanic eruption. He is bringing us some good news - the earthquakes are shallowing, so the magma-supply system seems to migrate upwards.

The longest eruption on La Palma was 84 days, so now it is a matter of less than a week to see whether this eruption will break that record.

Listen to the entire interview on Expressen's website.

Senast uppdaterad: 2022-01-25