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The core of ecorisQ is made of its members. By joining ecorisQ you will expand your professional network and profit from transparent tools in the field of natural hazard risks. Being an ecorisQ member demonstrates that you are willing to increase the transparancy and reproducibility of natural hazard analyses and that you promote sustainable protection against natural hazards.  

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During the last years we were working on the improvement of the online tool “SlideforNET”, now available here. The tool supports specialists in the assessment of hazards due to shallow landslides on vegetated slope and in the quantitative evaluation of bioengineering measures following normed approaches such as the use of reliability index or partial security factors (including the one for root reinforcement!!).  Moreover, the new table “Stand diagram” supports foresters in the decision of interventions in protection forests. The major technical improvements consist in the implementation of new root reinforcement data, improved stability calculations described in van Zadelhoff et al. (2022), based on the results of Cohen and Schwarz (2017) and Schwarz et al. (2015)

Lignatec ecorisQ Timbercounter NatHaz

In collaboration with Lignum, ecorisQ published a summary description of the use of timber in hazard mitigation structures against erosion and landslides, as well as in torrent control and avalanche protection. This easy-to-read and hands-on publication presents tried and tested constructions and their applications. Therefore, this publication not only aims at experts in forestry construction
engineering, but also at planners in natural hazard prevention and those interested in building with wood in general. The publication pdf can be publicly downloaded here (6.66 MB) .

NZ flood AUG2022

Europe battles high temperatures, fires, and record low river levels that have exposed historical artefacts not seen for centuries while New Zealand experiences its wettest winter on record. What is happening, and are our natural hazards becoming well, more hazardous and more frequent?

Many parts of New Zealand experienced the wettest July since records began. Then in August a tropical atmospheric river brought unprecedented rainfall to several parts of the country causing flooding, landslides and damage to infrastructure which will run into the millions to repair. This last deluge was on top of already wet ground and a sodden landscape. While rainfall intensities were not particularly high in many places, the sheer volume of water in and on the landscape exceeded thresholds for failure in many localities.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities. However, many houses were damaged, and a number have been condemned. Insurance claims will be in the many hundreds of millions of dollars. Main roads between towns in the upper South Island are closed, and many rural roads damaged so badly that it may take months to years to provide access to isolated communities and households.

What we used to consider as a 1 in 100-year event appears to now be occurring more frequently, though we don’t have long record lengths for many areas of the country. Some communities who have been affected multiple times in recent years will now need to find ways to adapt to these new conditions or abandon the places they call home. They and the country will soon no longer be able to afford to foot the bill for repeat damage in the same locality as the insurance industry looks towards withdrawing cover from such areas.

Climate change in action or part of natural variation? Either way, our understanding and management of natural hazards needs more attention than it has received in the last few decades. Otherwise, our communities will continue to be unprepared and look to blame someone else for the impacts that arise.

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Seems like it no longer matters that the equinox brings about unsettled weather, but this year down under in New Zealand the equinox (20-23 March 2022) coincided with severe weather that affected part of the North Island. First up the Auckland and Northland region experienced wild weather including thunderstorms (4000 lightning strikes with more than 700 in the space of 5 minutes); rainfall of 103 mm in 1 hour near Whangarei set a new national hourly rainfall record for a low elevation station (breaking a record of 100.6 mm set in 1966) and extensive flash flooding in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city). This was then followed with flooding, landslides, road and infrastructure damage on the East Coast of North Island a day or so later. Parts of the region received 450 mm of rain in 48 hours and the region became isolated as the main highways were cut because of bridge collapses and landslides.

It was reported as another 1 in 100 year event in the media. However, for those that live in this region, they have seen several of these in the last few years and are now wondering when the next one will happen and what will the long-term future hold.

Photo credit: Andrew Shelton

Due to exceptional rainfall intensities and quantities (150 - 270 mm in 48 hrs) between 13 and 15 July 2021, the area between Liège (eastern part of Belgium), Maastricht (southern part of the Netherlands) and Köln (mid western part of Germany) had to deal with an unprecented flooding disaster. In total, more than 220 persons lost their lives and estimates of the insured losses mount up to €2.55 billion, with the total damage costs being much higher. The return-period of the observed precipation scenarios is estimated between 30 to 100 years.

Photo: Parochie Valkenburg

Due to climate change it is expected that the occurence frequency of such extreme precipitation events increases. In addition, the older series of precipitation measurements cover about 300 years, meaning that we did not yet observe many of those extreme events. Therefore, although robust climate change signals are detected for future seasonal and multi-day extremes, uncertainty in our current extreme value statistics still need to be taken into account wenn preparing our natural hazard management strategy for the future. Thinking the unthinkable will have to be one part of it, meaning that we also will have to simulate and assess the impacts of events which we did not observe until now.

© dpa-Bildfunk/Rhein-Erft-Kreis (erosion gullies in Erftstadt, DE)