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Global Risks Report 2022 Ashley Avci & Andrew Gissing The World Economic Forum has released its 17th edition of the Global Risks Report (GRR). Each year the GRR highlights key global risk perceptions derived from current economic, societal, environmental, and…

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Eruption 15th of January 2022 Andrew Gissing, Russell Blong & Paul SomervilleUpdate 16th of January 7:30 PM AEDTEruptionThe 5 km wide volcanic caldera underlying the Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai islands is situated 65km north of Nukuálofa.…

Accelerating breakup of Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica and implications for rapid sea level rise Introduction The Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers in Antarctica are flowing toward the Amundsen Sea along a 250 km wide front.  Further inland, the glaciers widen…

Kicking Off Storm Season The warmer months in Australia see most of us looking forward to sunshine and holidays  -- especially now that lockdown restrictions are easing. For emergency services, Spring is also the beginning of storm season. Convective storms…

Comparison of the 22 Sept 2021 Mw 5.9 Mansfield earthquake with large or damaging Australian earthquakes On 22 September 2021, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred southeast of Mansfield in the Eastern Highlands of Victoria, approximately 130 km northeast of Melbourne.…

Mansfield earthquake 22 September 2021 magnitude 5.9 – what caused it, and preliminary impacts The 22 September 2021 magnitude Mw 5.9 Mansfield earthquake occurred at 9:21 am local time with an epicentre at latitude 37.491°S, longitude 146.363°E, depth: 10.0 km,…

Mansfield Earthquake: 22 September 2021 Magnitude 5.9 The epicentre of the 22 September 2021 Magnitude 5.9 Mansfield earthquake occurred at 9:21 am local time at latitude 37.491°S, longitude 146.363°E, Depth: 10.0 km. This is the largest earthquake to have occurred…

Confluence of disastrous environmental events in the western United States Introduction This has been a summer of extremes in the western United States with record heat impacting not just the Northwest, but also the Southwest. Virtually every western state, including…

Normalised New Zealand natural disaster insurance losses: 1968-2019 In an article published in March this year we normalised the Insurance Council of New Zealand’s (ICNZ’s) Disaster List. As in other normalisations Risk Frontiers has undertaken for the Insurance Council of…

Webinar Series 2021 Analysis to resilience: science to support decision-making in a warming world  Wednesday 13th October 2021, 2pm-3.00pm.Our warming world. Implications of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report for Australia.Prof. Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW  Wednesday 20th October…

Climate change is making ocean waves more powerful Sea level rise is not the only consideration for the management of our coasts in the coming decades. Our research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, found it is also making waves more…

The 14 August 2021 Mw 7.2 Haiti Earthquake and Multi-Source Compound Disasters Introduction Throughout its history, Haiti has been severely impacted by both earthquakes and hurricanes. Approaching tropical storm Grace threatens to drench Haiti by heavy rains, hindering response and…

Community insurance against climate change, wildfires in California, and the need for forward-looking wildfire loss modelling While other nations have used insurance markets to address climate impacts, until recently that has not been the case in the United States. California…

Causal links between the North American heatwave and European and Chinese floods An unprecedented heat dome trapped hot air over much of southern British Columbia, Canada and Oregon and Washington in the United States, in the week of June 25…

A brief history of ransomware Introduction Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent tools used by modern cyber criminals. In the past few months, multiple large companies were hit by ransomware attacks which have made headlines across the globe.…

Over 500 Excess deaths from a heat dome in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon An unprecedented heat dome trapped hot air over much of southern British Columbia, Canada and Oregon and Washington in the United States, in the week of…

Outcome of the struggle over how COVID-19 spreads Introduction According to conventional medical opinion, nearly all respiratory infections transmit as droplets through coughs or sneezes: Whenever a sick person coughs, bacteria and viruses spray out in droplets, quickly falling and…

Oil companies suffer climate change setbacks on a historic day for the industry In a clear signal that the policy environment for companies has already changed and will change even more, the oil industry suffered a series of extraordinary setbacks…

Behaviour and Mechanics of Crowd Crush Disasters Introduction Large concentrations of people occur frequently in modern society. Usually these large gatherings of people occur without serious problems. Occasionally the combination of inadequate facilities and deficient crowd management results in injury…

Risks of weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field The Earth's magnetic field protects life from cosmic rays, energetic particles that would otherwise arrive from space. Mars now lacks a strong magnetic field, and the conditions on its surface are thought…

Lower Hawkesbury flood impact research - caravan and ski park vulnerability Between March 18 - 23, 2021, extreme rainfall caused by a low pressure trough off Australia's eastern seaboard resulted in severe flooding in many parts of New South Wales.…

The Steady March Towards Climate Risk Disclosures in Australia Last week, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) released draft guidelines on managing the financial risks of climate change for Australian banks, insurers and superannuation trustees. This is an important document…

NSW Mid North Coast flood impact research On March 18, 2021, an extreme rainfall event kicked off, resulting in severe flooding in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. 18,000 people were evacuated, including 1,000 flood rescues. Flooding also…

Has the Hundred-Year Flood had its day?  The ongoing flood event impacting, in particular, the mid-north coast of NSW, has led some to call this a “hundred year” or “generational” flood event. However, describing extreme floods in this way –…

Test of New Zealand’s tsunami response in 5 March 2021 A sequence of three earthquakes occurred near New Zealand on 5 March 2021 (Risk Frontiers, 2021). The first of the three large earthquakes, a magnitude 7.3 off East Cape, was…

Ten years after the 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami The Tohoku region of northeast Honshu, Japan, was struck on 11 March 2011 by a huge earthquake (Risk Frontiers, 2011, 2012) which occurred offshore and generated and a huge tsunami…

Tectonic evolution of the Earth and its implications for life formation and long-term climate change In a reconstruction of the evolution of the Earth over the past billion years, Merdith et al (2021) have generated a video in which continents…

Global Risks 2021 briefing The World Economic Forum released its 16th edition of the Global Risks Report. This briefing summarises the main findings, concentrating on changes in perceived risks that have occurred in the past year. The main High Impact…

Findings of the 2020 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Introduction The Lancet Countdown is an international collaboration established to provide an independent, global monitoring system dedicated to tracking the emerging health profile of the changing climate, with its…

The following information is taken from a report by Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle, 17 August 2018. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says in a report that Redding firefighter Jeremy Stoke died July 26, 2018,…

The heavy rain, large waves, strong winds and high tides impacting northern NSW and southeast Queensland this week come with the first significant summer storm event the region has experienced since last February. It has already led to significant flooding…

This briefing is excerpted with the kind permission of Ruth Cooper, Digital Editor at Mahlab, from an article by Charlotte Barkla that appears on createdigitial.org.au, a website of Engineers Australia. It is an interview with Peter McBean, FIEAust CPEng, who…

The recently released biennial BoM/CSIRO State of the Climate 2020 Report (SoC 2020) provides a summary of the changes that have occurred in Australia over the past century, including projections for the future. Australia’s climate has warmed on average by…

Even after months of extensive research by the global scientific community, many questions about the spread of the SARS-Covid-2 pandemic remain unanswered. Widespread expectations of catastrophic outbreaks in China, South Korea and Japan were not realized. In the early months…

Large transoceanic tsunamis have impacts that extend far from the earthquake that cause them, and so it often occurs that tsunami impacts that are recorded in historical documents or in geological sand deposits cannot be easily associated with their source.…

Insurers are gearing up for what is likely to be one of the most expensive insured cargo and port infrastructure losses ever from the Beirut explosion, on a scale at least as large as the one resulting from the explosions…

The following briefing is a reproduction of the article entitled "A Future Pandemic" that was published in our Quarterly Newsletter Volume 5 Issue 2, December 2005. It was written by Risk Frontiers' former employee Jeffrey Fisher and Peter Curson, Emeritus…

In recent years, eastern Australia, like Japan, has experienced extremely high maximum temperatures that are consistent with patterns of global changes in climate. Fortunately, last summer’s heatwaves in Australia occurred before the prevalence of COVID-19, and if Australia is able…

Nearly 771,000 acres of largely unpopulated land have burned across California during the past week as dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires moved quickly through dry vegetation and threatened the edges of cities and towns. The fires have been most severe in…

As the insurance market trends toward more analytical and data-driven decisions, insurers are continually exploring ways to rate risk better and more precisely. For the case of earthquake risk, this means an enhanced understanding of the relationship between event location,…

The past few weeks have not been pleasant for beachfront property owners at Terrigal-Wamberal (see Figure 1), and worrisome for those with a sea view at other erosion “hot-spots” on the east coast, such as Collaroy-Narrabeen and Belongil. Beyond the…

Standard methods of earthquake detection use seismic waves, which travel through the earth at speeds up to about 8 km/sec for compressional waves. The compressional waves have speeds about 75% higher than the following shear waves, which are the waves…

This week a number of remarkable articles on herd immunity to Coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) have been posted without peer review (Britton et al., 2020; Lourenco et al., 2020), and these and other studies have been reviewed by Hamblin (2020). This…

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Risk Frontiers’ Annual Seminar Series for 2020 will be presented as a series of three one-hour webinars across three weeks.

Webinar 1. Thurs. 17 September, 2:30-3:30pm
Webinar 2. Thurs. 24 September, 2:30-3:30pm
Webinar 3. Thurs. 1 October, 2:30-3:30pm

Click on image to read more.

This article, published online under the title “What is the Difference Between Complicated and Complex Systems… and Why is it Important in Understanding the Systemic Nature of Risk?,” is the third in a series of eight articles co-authored by Marc…

It is commonly assumed that modern building codes assure resilience, guaranteeing that recently built structures can be quickly reoccupied, or at least readily repaired, after an earthquake. However, building codes were devised to protect lives, not property, so they do…

The March 16 Imperial College report[1] generated a lot of controversy. The study explores the effectiveness of various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) in respect to limiting the spread of the Covid-19 and moderating its impact on the general population and the…

Australia’s Eastern Seaboard is set to be lashed by the first real East Coast Low (ECL) of the cold season over the next couple of days beginning on 22 May 2020, (Figure 1). Unlike the February 5-10 2020 ECL, which…

Three earthquakes occurred about 200km north of Adelaide between May 10 and May 14, 2020, as shown on the left side of Figure 1. The first event (yellow), local magnitude ML 2.6, occurred near Spalding on May 10 at 22:53…

We are good at learning from recent experience; the availability heuristic is the tendency to estimate the likelihood of an event based on our ability to recall examples. However, we are much less skilled at anticipating potential catastrophes that have…

The following article was written in response to COVID-19 pandemic modelling but has a particular resonance with why we make CAT models and how and why they change. CAT models explore some interesting territory – integrating as they do a…

Solar Cycle 25 is the upcoming and 25th solar cycle since 1755, when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. It is expected to begin around April this year and continue past 2030 (see Figure 1). Stronger solar activity tends…

The temporal clustering of large surface faulting earthquakes that has been observed in the western part of Australia has been elegantly explained by the Devil’s Staircase fractal model of fault behaviour. Although the only available paleoseismic observations in eastern Australia…

New thinking is required for bushfire fighting in Australia

Risk Frontiers deployed a team to the NSW South Coast region in late January, 2020 to undertake damage surveys following the bushfires. This research was supported by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC). The areas surveyed included Moruya, Mogo,…

This briefing presents an article by Martin Enserink and Kai Kupferschmidt entitled “Mathematics of life and death: How disease models shape national shutdowns and other pandemic policies.” It ends by describing a three-way tussle between protecting physical health, protecting the…

  Ben Cohen, author of the book “The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks” described “How the plague ravaged William Shakespeare’s world and inspired his work.” The plague closed London’s playhouses and forced Shakespeare’s acting company, the King’s…

Risk Frontiers’ rapid post-event analysis of radar footprint and damage gives an aggregated loss estimate of $1.2 billion for the January 2020 hail storms that hit Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney simultaneously - see Table 1. On January 19, 2020, the…

  An East Coast Low (ECL) windstorm event impacted Southeast Queensland, coastal and inland NSW and the ACT over the period 5 to 10 February 2020, with the Insurance Council of Australia declaring the event a catastrophe (ICA, 2020). As…

  The 1989 Newcastle Earthquake and its Impact The Newcastle earthquake occurred at 10:27am local time on December 28, 1989. It had a magnitude Mw of 5.42 (Allen et al., 2018), the epicentre was approximately 15 km SW of the…

Onset of a catastrophe I was watching the news on NHK TV (Japan’s public broadcaster) on September 11, 2011 when the broadcast was abruptly interrupted by a news flash that a JMA (the Japan Meteorological Agency) magnitude 7.9 earthquake had…

Last year Risk Frontiers turned 25 demonstrating the success of what may be Australia’s longest-running insurance industry research collaboration. In this, our 73rd newsletter, Professor Russell Blong, the founder of Risk Frontiers, shares his memories of the early years. In…

Targeting policy interventions to enhance public safety is critical. Here we interrogate PerilAUS, Risk Frontiers database of natural hazard occurences in Australia, to analyze bushfire deaths occurring since those of the 2009 Black Saturday fires. This data was based mainly…

Risk Frontiers deployed a damage survey team in early December. The team travelled to bushfire-affected communities in northern NSW to make observations and report on impacted areas. The two fires concerned behaved differently and were influenced by weather conditions and…

The 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season is far from over but has already been unprecedented in its destruction. Since August multiple concurrent and sequential bushfires across many states have resulted in loss of life and destruction of homes, businesses, farms, infrastructure…

  Bushfires aren’t the only catastrophic emergency Australia is likely to see. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Calls are growing for a national bushfire plan, including from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who says they are an issue of national security and…

On the afternoon of November 17th, 2019, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a warning that Queensland would experience severe wind and giant hail. Multiple news sources reported cricket-ball sized hail in the greater Sunshine Coast region. Accompanying videos and…

The Australian Government, through the Department of Home Affairs, has called for views regarding the cyber security strategy that Australia should adopt from 2020. This strategy will be the successor to the 2016 initiative which the Government accompanied with an…

The World Economic Forum this month released their Regional Risks for Doing Business Report. The findings of the report are based on a survey of global business leaders on the state of business environments regionally. Extreme weather events, natural catastrophes…

Once again, wildfires have caused catastrophic property losses in the late Californian summer, but loss of life is much lower than last year, possibly because of radical mitigation measures including the widespread use of deliberate blackouts to avoid ignition by…

COVID 19 presents a disruptive risk to the way businesses work. At Risk Frontiers we have been proactive since early February in implementing our pandemic risk management strategies to reduce risks to our staff and to ensure the continuity of our service delivery.

Click on image to read more.

On 24 September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the latest of three Special Reports in the Sixth Assessment Cycle, this time focussing on the Ocean and Cryosphere. Our Briefing Note 377 outlined some of the key points…

The ongoing fire emergencies in northeast New South Wales (NSW) and southeast Queensland (QLD) have attracted significant media attention and concern given the resulting damage early in the bushfire season. Nine homes in NSW and some 17 homes in QLD…

In her latter years the author of To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee, obsessively followed the case of a rural preacher, Reverend Willie Maxwell. The case gripped Alabama. Maxwell was accused of murdering five of his family for insurance…

Catastrophe loss models Catastrophe loss models are decision support systems used extensively in the (re)insurance industry to assist in pricing risk and aggregate exposure management. They also offer significant benefits in improving disaster risk reduction decision making. Risk Frontiers over…

A magnitude Mw 6.6 earthquake occurred about 200 km west of Broome on 14 July 2019 (Figure 1). It is the second largest earthquake to have occurred in or near Western Australia in historical time. This earthquake was followed about…

An M 6.4 earthquake occurred near Ridgecrest, Southern California, about 180 km north of Los Angeles,  on July 4th, 2019, preceded by a short series of small foreshocks (including an M 4.0 earthquake 30 minutes prior), and was followed by…

Darwin was shaken at around noon today by a deep Mw 7.3 earthquake that occurred in the Banda Sea. Both Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey reported that the earthquake occurred at a depth of about 200 km. …

Wednesday, 11th September 2019 at the Museum of Sydney cnr Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney 2pm until 4.30pm followed by light refreshments in the foyer. Provisional Programme: Prof Andy Pitman AO - Do climate models tell us about future extremes?…

  The rapidly expanding market of climate change service providers spawns from developments both internationally and in Australia focused on the disclosure of climate-change related financial risks and regulatory changes (more detail in our previous Briefing Note 386). Private sector…

The 14th of April, marked the 20th anniversary of the Sydney 1999 hailstorm. The storm is considered to have been Australia’s most expensive insured natural disaster with insurers paying out claims to the tune of 5.5 billion dollars in today’s…

In the Reserve Bank’s first substantial comments on the topic on March 12, deputy governor Guy Debelle warned that climate change could cause financial shocks if companies did not take these risks seriously in their planning (see Risk Frontiers Briefing…

SIMPLITIUM PRESS RELEASE - 26.03.2019 Risk Frontiers' HailAUS 7.0 model is now available on ModEx®, the independent multi-vendor catastrophe modelling platform for the insurance industry. Risk Frontiers represent the seventh model vendor on ModEx. Risk Frontiers specialises in disaster risk assessment…

  Robert FitzRoy was an English Officer of the Royal Navy, most famously known for captaining HMS Beagle during Darwin’s voyage around the world, and being the 2nd Governor of New Zealand. He was also perhaps the world’s first modern-recognised…

  The following article, by Eryk Bagshaw and Nick Bonyhady, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 12 March 2019. The last line notes that “companies disclosing climate risks need to adopt a level of commonality or risk that information…

The following article was published by the Australian Outlook on March 4th, 2019. It highlights some of the most important technical and political points regarding the recent cyber attack against the Australian Parliament Network and other political parties. Risk Frontiers…

Flooding impacted large areas of Townsville from Wednesday 30th January 2019, as a consequence of heavy rainfall across the north of Queensland. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) noted that 370mm of rain fell within 24 hours at Paluma near Townsville.…

Many would remember the computer game SimCity, an opportunity to build fictitious cities, with the aim of being re-elected as mayor and generating enough tax revenue to maintain vital community infrastructure. Despite, the advanced level requiring some consideration of fires,…

Roger Pielke, Jr. (University of Colorado and Associate of Risk Frontiers) and Ryan Maue (Cato Institute and Weather.us) In 2012 we (along with Jessica Weinkle) published a time series of historical global tropical cyclone landfalls (available here in PDF). Much…

January was the hottest summer on record in Australia. Risk Frontiers' Andrew Gissing spoke to the ABC about the impacts of heatwave conditions. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-01/australian-weather-hottest-month-on-record-in-january/10769392?pfmredir=sm

In light of underwhelming progress at COP-24 (the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of the Parties (COP) in Katowice 2018), it is increasingly improbable the Paris Agreement’s ambitions will be achieved. Instead, it seems more…

By Denny Wan[1] and Tahiry Rabehaja[2] [1] Denny Wan is the principal consultant of Security Express and a postgraduate researcher at the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub. He has deep expertise in cyber risk quantification. His research focuses on…

This week the World Economic Forum again published its Global Risk Report. The report is based on a survey that accesses insights across the Forum’s vast network of business, government and community leaders. For the third year running, extreme weather…

Hurricane Florence impacted the US East Coast in September 2018 resulting in dangerous surf conditions, strong winds, storm surge and heavy rain producing significant flooding. The system made landfall over North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. While 1.7 million…

In 2018, Queensland had the third-warmest spring and forth-warmest November on record, in terms of mean temperature (BoM, 2018d). At the end of November, exceptional heat affected eastern Queensland, with some locations reaching their highest annual maximum temperatures ever recorded.…

The heavy rain event on 28 November 2018 caused widespread flooding in the Illawarra, Sydney Metro and Central Coast areas, with some suburbs experiencing up to 61 mm in 30 minutes in Mosman, over 100 mm in two hours in…

  The U.S. federal government on Friday 23 November released a long-awaited report (NCA4) with an unmistakable message: the effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the…

A second earthquake with magnitude larger than 5 occurred today (November 9, 2018) near Lake Muir in southwestern Western Australia, and Geoscience Australia assigned it a magnitude of 5.4.  This earthquake, shown by the large red dot in Figure 1,…

After the Christchurch earthquake sequence we are very aware of liquefaction and the large scale damage it was responsible for. It may come as a surprise to learn that liquefaction is a big safety issue for the shipping industry where…

Macquarie University's Lighthouse publication recently showcased research being undertaken by Risk Frontiers' Andrew Gissing on planning and capability requirements for catastrophic events. This research, undertaken through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, is investigating better practice approaches to…

Twenty-eight years on from the First Assessment Report in 1990, the IPCC’s most recent Special Report on Global Warming delivers an urgent warning to policymakers that we are reaching the point of no return for mitigating anthropogenic impacts on global…

Wednesday 31st October, 2018 at The Museum of Sydney cnr Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney 2pm until 4.30pm followed by light refreshments in the foyer. The focus on natural hazards, climate change and cyber risk is rising. The world economic…

Risk Frontiers through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre is undertaking research into catastrophic disasters. As part of this research we are exploring how businesses can become more involved in the response to and recovery after major disasters.…

The 28 September Mw 7.5 Sulawesi Earthquake occurred on the Palu-Koro fault, which ruptured southward from the epicenter to a location south of Palu. The Palu-Koro fault is a strike-slip fault on which the two sides slide horizontally past each…

Local sociality, which is local people's everyday lives in and with their community, influences recovery in disaster-affected communities. This paper examines recovery in four disaster-impacted communities. In the two Australian examples rural communities were impacted by the 2011 Queensland floods.…

As the Earth’s atmosphere warms, the atmospheric circulation changes. Understanding how tropical cyclone activity may change in response to this warming is no easy task, with recent studies showing considerable dispersion in projected changes in activity for the Australian region.…

This briefing contains excerpts from a recently-published article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Will Steffen and colleagues. The paper has sparked recent media interest and scientific discussion on the possibility of abrupt climate…

We are excited to announce we have released our new probabilistic earthquake loss model for Australia, QuakeAUS 6.0. The updated model, developed by Dr Valentina Koschatzky with input from Risk Frontiers’ Chief Geoscientist, Dr Paul Somerville, incorporates Geoscience Australia’s recent…

Australian Journal of Emergency Management. July 2018 edition. Flood levees are a commonly used method of flood protection. Previous research has proposed the concept of the ‘levee paradox’ to describe the situation whereby the construction of levees leads to a…

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on 21 June 2018, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its parent company, PG&E Corp., reported Thursday that they will take a $2.5 billion charge to cover expected losses from October’s deadly Wine…

  In December 2017, the credit rating agency Moody’s warned U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded. It explained how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that's…

As the Earth’s atmosphere warms, the atmospheric circulation changes. These changes vary by region and time of year, but there is evidence to suggest that anthropogenic warming causes a general weakening of summertime tropical circulation. Because tropical cyclones are carried…

Cyclocopters are a new concept of drone that has recently shown success in development, garnering significant interest from leading robotic institutions and the US Army. The commercially available drones most people are familiar with are referred to as polycopters. Polycopters…

The following briefing, by Esprit Smith of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was published on the NASA website on 24 May 2018. The study described below considers projections based on two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) – 4.5 and 8.5. There are…

This article written by Fran Molloy, based on research by Andrew Gissing, was published in yesterday's issue of  Macquarie University's The Lighthouse. New research shows that most Australian drivers think they can work out when it is safe to enter…

The Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers in Antarctica are flowing toward the Amundsen Sea along a 250 km wide front.  Further inland, the glaciers widen into a 3 km thick mass of ice covering an area the size of Texas.…

2017 was not a good year for cyber security. Victims ranged from small businesses to corporate giants such as Equifax, Deloitte and Kmart with the impacts of ‘improved’ ransomware such as WannaCry and NotPetya just two well-publicised examples.  Such breaches…

Modern concrete is porous and degrades in contact with seawater. Seawater can seep into its pores, and when dried out the salts crystalize. The crystallization pressure of the salts produces stresses that can result in cracks and spalls. There are…

Until now, GNS Science earthquake forecasts have been mainly focused on aftershocks occurring within the region affected by mainshock events.  This has been the case for the 2010 Mw 7.1 Darfield and 2011 Mw 6.2 Christchurch earthquakes as well as…

Alice Carney1, Lucinda Coates1,2,3 and Katharine Haynes1,3 1 Macquarie University 2 Risk Frontiers 3 Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre Risk Frontiers recently examined the circumstances surrounding deaths from flood events in Australia as part of a wider Bushfire…

The following article, by Max Fisher, appeared in The Interpreter, New York Times, on January 14, 2018, the day after state emergency officials in Hawaii made a false warning to take shelter from an inbound missile threat.   Three days later,…

Australian Geographic spoke with heatwave risk management experts to determine what you can do to beat the heat over the next week. Most of south-east Australia is gearing up for what’s predicted to be a sweltering five day heatwave, according…

This article by Andrew Gissing and Lucinda Coates has appeared in today's The Conversation. "Heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest natural hazard, but a recent survey has found that many vulnerable people do not have plans to cope with extreme heat. Working with the Bushfire…

Sydney was the hottest city on earth on Sunday 7 January 2018 (and no, I’m not talking about its nightlife) when Penrith, in the outer west, reached 47.30C, pipping its previous record set on 11 February 2017 (News Limited, 2018).…

 The following article, written by Tom Hubble and Samantha Clarke (U. Sydney) and Hannah Power and Kaya Wilson (U. Newcastle), appeared on The Conversation on December 10, 2017. The authors have modelled tsunamis that would be generated by these slides…

This article by Andrew Gissing appeared on The Conversation. The floods that deluged parts of Victoria over the weekend are the latest in the state’s long history of flooding, following on from major floods in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016.…

  In the past few weeks there have been sensational reports about a forecast accelerated rate of occurrence of large earthquakes in 2018.  Fortunately, one of the authors of the work that lies behind these reports has explained her calm…

This article by Anna Prytz was published in today's issue of The Age. Record-breaking rain is bearing down on Victoria, triggering warnings of dangerous flash flooding across the state. After a scorching end to spring, Melbourne is set to get…

Geoscience Australia (GA) has embarked on a project to update the seismic hazard model for Australia through the National Seismic Hazard Assessment (NSHA18) project.  The following information is excerpted from Allen et al. (2017) and from discussions that took place…

As reported by the USGS, the September 19, 2017, Mw 7.1 Puebla earthquake in Central Mexico occurred as the result of faulting within the subducted Cocos plate at a depth of approximately 50 km and about 120 km southeast of…

Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie made landfall at Airlie Beach on the Whitsunday Coast earlier on in the year, with an estimated property insurance market loss estimate over AUD $1.6 billion (PERILS, 2017). Debbie had all the ingredients for a large…

By Chas Keys. In New Orleans: 11 Years after Katrina (Briefing Note 317: May 2016), John McAneney and Foster Langbein cite an observation from sociologist Shirley Laska, Professor Emerita at the University of New Orleans. Laska argues that decisions and…

Congratulations to Stuart Mead and Tetsuya Okada pictured here with their supervisors Christina Magill and Kat Haynes. Tetsuya Okada's PhD investigated recent disaster recovery and risk reduction processes in Australia and Japan. Read more. Stuart Mead's PhD developed and integrated computational…

This article by Freya Jones, published in Asia Pacific Fire Magazine, October 3, refers to research undertaken the CRC research team led by Katharine Haynes, Risk Frontiers. Fatalities from floods are a major cause of natural hazard deaths around the…

This article by Thomas Loridan, Risk Frontiers, was published in Asia Pacific Fire Magazine, October 3, 2017. Extreme winds from tropical cyclones (TCs) regularly threaten communities worldwide. In recent decades significant efforts have been put towards improving our understanding of…

This article by Andrew Gissing, Risk Frontiers, was published in Asia Pacific Fire Magazine, October 3, 2017. Australia is exposed to a variety of natural and technological disaster risks, which vary in their significance across the nation. Communities are faced…

  Devastating floods have occurred last month in Texas, USA, inundating large parts of America’s fourth largest city, Houston, as a consequence of Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of people have required rescue, and as of the 14th of September 82 people…

There has been a recent increase in the body of knowledge related to children and disasters. These studies converge into three main fields of research: the impact of disasters on children and their psychological recovery, the integration of disaster risk…

  Newton's laws of motion describe the motion of an object in an inertial (non-accelerating) frame of reference. When Newton's laws are transformed to a rotating frame of reference (such as the earth’s surface), the Coriolis force and centrifugal force…

Professor Roger Pielke Jr (University of Colorado Boulder) Roger is a long-term Research Fellow of Risk Frontiers and recently it was our pleasure to be able to host him, once again, in Sydney. During this visit, we were rewarded with…

New South Wales in 2017 experienced one of its hottest summers on records including several Heatwave events. With the support of the Bureau of Meteorology and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Risk Frontiers completed a study of…

This was the headline of a news report in the Sydney Morning Herald last week (July 20). The article (and others in the media recently) is based on a research article published by fellow OEH Coastal Process Node members UNSW…

·        St Leonards, Sydney ·        Challenging and interesting projects ·        Diverse and high performing team Risk Frontiers is a leading independent research and development company, focused on providing practical and pragmatic solutions to interesting and challenging risk and resilience problems.…

Did you stay with your home or business, or evacuate during the recent floods? We are inviting residents and business owners in the Richmond, Brunswick and Tweed river catchments to participate in an online survey. We are interested in your…

This article by Professor John McAneney — CEO Risk Frontiers and Anna Game-Lopata appeared in the ANZIIF Writer on18 Jul 2017. "For 23 years, Risk Frontiers has been at the cutting edge of catastrophe loss modelling, applying advances in technology and…

This paper  by the Risk Frontiers team has just been published in the journal Environmental Science and Policy. The paper documents an analysis of the circumstances surrounding fatalities due to flooding in Australia between 1900 and 2015. This longitudinal investigation…

By Brady Dennis.  Washington Post July 16, 2017. This article from The Washington Post on June 16 by Brady Denis nicely highlights the complex political issues facing attempts to reform the US National Flood Insurance Program. As is discussed in McAneney…

Risk Frontiers, Australia’s longest running natural hazards research centre, is spinning out from Macquarie University after a successful partnership of 23 years. The ‘new’ Risk Frontiers will continue to provide the rigorous, science-based advice that clients have come to expect.…

Sadly the risks identified in our Briefing Note 315 (April 2016), and which you can again read below, have been realised in London in the June 14 Grenfell Tower fire with the loss of at least 80 lives. The building…

Risk Frontiers’ Thomas Mortlock presented this week on recent work regarding calibrating a global storm surge model in collaboration with Deltares, at the 2017 Coast and Ports conference in Cairns this week. The work combines Deltares' capabilities in global ocean…

This week sees a significant but little-heralded anniversary in New South Wales: 150 years ago, on the 23rd of June, a devastating flood peaked at Windsor on the Hawkesbury River. For height reached and area inundated, that event has not…

  Risk Frontiers - in association with the Marine Climate Risk Group at Macquarie University - have delivered a modelling study for NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, as part of the NSW Adaptation Research Hub, to help understand the long-term stability…

In partnership with the NSW State Emergency Service, Risk Frontiers conducted a survey of twenty participants at the Floodplain Management Australia conference held in May, 2017. Participants were from the floodplain risk management industry and represented Local and State Government,…

This article by James Foster, Associate Researcher, University of Hawaii, appeared in The Conversation on March 15, 2016.  As shown in the last figure, cargo ship routes provide much better coverage of the northern hemisphere than the southern hemisphere. Racing…

by Russell Blong , Neal Enright and Paul Grasso. Abstract:  The preservation of thin (<300 mm thick) tephra falls was investigated at four sites in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Alaska and Washington, USA. Measurements of the variations in the thickness…

A new report on natural hazard fatalities has been produced by Risk Frontiers, which undertook the project, “An analysis of human fatalities and building losses from natural disasters in Australia” for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC). The BNHCRC…

Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie made landfall near Airlie Beach on the north Queensland coast at midday on 28th March 2017. A team from Risk Frontiers travelled to the landfall site and surrounds a day later to assess the damage. Their findings…

This article by Robin C. van den Honert appeared in MDPI  Resources 2016, 5(3), 28; doi:10.3390/resources5030028. Abstract: Economic losses from natural disasters pose significant challenges to communities and to the insurance industry. Natural disaster mitigation aims to reduce the threat to…

Governments and communities should use disaster recovery as an opportunity to transform resilience and use hazard mitigation plans to inform post event mitigation activities “Disasters are both personal and transformative” (Dr Gavin Smith) The scale of recent American Hurricane disasters…

This article by Thomas Loridan (Risk Frontiers), Ryan Crompton (Risk Frontiers) and Eugene Dubossarsky (Presciient) was published in the American Meteorological Society Journal on 17th May, 2017. Abstract: Tropical Cyclone (TC) risk assessment models and probabilistic forecasting systems rely on…

Risk Frontiers staff Andrew Gissing, Lucinda Coates and Tetsuya Okada will this week provide presentations on recent Risk Frontiers' research at the Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on the Gold Coast. Presentations will be delivered on…

Risk Frontiers researchers Andrew Gissing and Dr Katharine Haynes will this week present on latest research to inform floodplain risk management policy at the Australian national flood conference in Newcastle. Topics being presented include human behaviour during flood events; undertaking…

This article by Joshua Whittaker, Raphaele Blanchi, Katharine Haynes, Justin Leonard and Kimberley Opie was published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 23, August 2017, Pages 119-127. Abstract More than half of those who died in the…

Understanding the impact of lifeline network failure during natural hazard events is key for disaster planning and mitigation. Lifeline networks – such as transportation, communication, power, water and sewage – are the critical infrastructure and essential services heavily relied upon for…

Risk Frontiers’ suite of Probabilistic Catastrophe Loss Models for Australia and New Zealand will be available on AIR Worldwide’s Touchstone® 5.0 platform for licensing from Risk Frontiers in June 2017. The suite of models comprises the following: Tropical Cyclone (Australia)…

Risk Frontiers, Andrew Gissing has contributed his knowledge about flood risk management in the development of a World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline published early this morning in New York on the prevention of drowning. Drowning takes an estimated 360,000 lives globally each…

Risk Frontiers recently partnered with the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) and Molino Stewart Pty Ltd to pilot approaches to improve community involvement in emergency planning. Pilots were conducted across three communities, with their design being informed by a comprehensive…

CRC research is now informing community flood warning campaigns, emergency services training and national policy initiatives, with a study led by Dr Katharine Haynes at Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, investigating the circumstances of all flood fatalities in Australia from 1900…

This article by Avianto Amri, Deanne K. Bird, Kevin Ronan, Katharine Haynes and Briony Towers published in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences investigates the implementation of disaster risk reduction education for children in Indonesia. In the last decade, education programmes related…

This nicely written and well-researched article by Brooke Jarvis appeared in the New York Times Magazine on April 23, 2017, with the headline: Under Water. It nicely illustrates many of the issues discussed by John and other authors in McAneney et…

Carol Stewart, Thomas M. Wilson, Victoria Sword-Daniels, Kristi L. Wallace, Christina R. Magill Affiliated with Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, Claire J. Horwell, Graham S. Leonard, Peter J. Baxter. Volcanic ash is generated in explosive volcanic eruptions, dispersed by prevailing winds and may be deposited onto communities hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away. The wide geographic…

Floodwaters arising from the rainfall of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie impacted North, South and Central Lismore from Thursday, March 30, 2017. Hundreds of residential and commercial buildings were flooded; several thousand residents and business operators were evacuated. Central and South Lismore are…

Risk Frontiers' Andrew Gissing joins a panel on RN Radio with Fran Kelly to discuss mitigating disaster and measuring risk in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.  Other panel guests include Rob Whelan (CEO, Insurance Council of Australia) and Karl Mallon…

  Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie made landfall near Airlie Beach on the north Queensland coast at midday on 28th March 2017. It was a slow-moving category 4 system that generated wind gusts exceeding 160 km/hr, heavy rainfall, large waves and…

Lismore has a long history of flooding, with the community known for its ‘flood culture’. The areas of North, South and Central Lismore were flooded on Friday the 31st of March, the worst since 1974. It was the first flood…

Risk Frontiers' Andrew Gissing was invited to be part of the Channel 10 in-studio television broadcast on Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie. This gave viewers the opportunity to hear expert insights on the management of the disaster as the cyclone approached the Queensland…

By John Bohannon  Mar. 11, 2016. Following the community–initiated Facebook groups that emerged during the 2010/11 Queensland and Victorian floods, Risk Frontiers undertook research into the use of social media as a complementary form of hazard and risk communication. The online questionnaire…

Risk Frontiers' PhD student, Avianto Amri, takes out second prize for a poster to develop a household preparedness plan at the First Innovation in Flood Resilience Conference held recently in Jakarta. The conference aimed at matching local innovators to potential funders…

Professor John McAneney and Andrew Gissing were invited to contribute to the 2016 World Disaster Report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Their contribution is provided below.  Improving societal resilience in the face of the…

by Thomas R. Mortlock, Ian D. Goodwin, John K. McAneney and Kevin Roche. In June 2016, an unusual East Coast Low storm affected some 2000 km of the eastern seaboard of Australia bringing heavy rain, strong winds and powerful wave…

Unexpected yet popular answers often turn out to be correct. This article by Cathleen O’Grady was published by Ars Technical on 29th January, 2017. https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/01/to-improve-the-wisdom-of-the-crowd-ask-people-to-predict-vote-outcome/.  Cathleen O'Grady  is Ars Technica's contributing science reporter. She has a background in cognitive science and…

This paper by R. J. Blong, P. Grasso, S. F. Jenkins, C. R. Magill, T. M. Wilson, K. McMullan and J. Kandlbauer was published on 26th January 2017 in the Journal of Applied Volcanology. Abstract: Volcanic ash falls are one of the most widespread and frequent volcanic hazards, and are produced by…

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC shared NSW SES‘s video. It is never safe to drive through floodwaters, no matter the circumstances. Learn from Sonya’s experience in this NSW SES video about why you shouldn’t take your vehicle into floodwaters. The…

The following news pieces have been picked up by various sources from a paper published late last year in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans titled "Tropical and extratropical-origin storm wave types and their influence on the East Australian longshore sand transport…

This article was posted on the NOAA website on 11 Feb 2016. If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”  ~ Pearl S. Buck One of the lesser-known but important functions of the NHC [National Hurricane Centre,…

Paper by John McAneney, Robin van den Honert and Stephen Yeo published in International Journal of Climatology. ABSTRACT: The economic impact of natural disasters on developing economies can be severe with the recovery diverting scarce funds that might otherwise be targeted…

Report by Dr Valentina Koschatzky, Dr James O'Brien, Prof. Paul Somerville for Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.  Despite its low seismic activity, Australia is more vulnerable to earthquakes than one would expect due to the concentration of population and the…

Article by Kevin Roche published in Asia Pacific Fire,  January 5, 2017. Five of Australia’s six most costly natural hazard events have come from different perils: a tropical cyclone, an earthquake, a flood, bushfire and a convective storm. Over the…

Thomas Mortlock is interviewed for this article in Forge Magazine. Macquarie University at forefront of marine science. Macquarie University's pioneering research in marine science is helping planning authorities and coastal communities to better understand the threat of storm-related beach erosion.…

The December 17, 2016, M 7.9 earthquake originated about 46 km east of Taron, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 103 km (Figure 1). It occurred as the result of reverse faulting at an intermediate depth. At…

This fifth briefing contains observations arising from a visit to Wellington and Blenheim (Dec. 5 – 12, 2016). Briefing by Dr Kelvin Berryman (General Manager: Natural Hazards Strategic Relationships, GNS) As shown in previous Risk Frontiers’ Briefing Notes, the NE…

Sydney Morning Herald. December 2, 2016. Peter Hannam. Heatwaves cause more deaths in Australia than all other natural hazards combined, so authorities should consider a cyclone-like rating system to help people prepare for hot spells, a risk researcher says. While the Bureau of Meteorology…

Fire, flood, lack of water, loss of power, substantial damage, tsunami.  These can all be a consequence of earthquake.  A little bit of research on improved building design can go a long way in reducing the costs of responding to…

Inspections and Occupancy of Government Buildings in Wellington. Speaking to Parliament's government administration committee on November 28, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said that the State Services Commission had made it clear from the start that properly qualified structural engineers…

It is the first day of summer, and already the weather bureau is warning of severe heatwave conditions across southern parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales. But experts are warning people to be careful of heatwaves, saying they…

Lucinda Coates is featured in The Retiree in regards to her research which has found that heatwaves have killed more Australians than other natural hazards combined. Thomas Loridan is interviewed by Will Ockenden on ABC News.  "It's the first day of…

Hazard Note 20 documents the analysis of the circumstances surrounding fatalities due to flooding in Australia from 1900 to 2015. The investigation includes exploring the socio-demographic and environmental factors surrounding the deaths. Overall there have been 1,859 fatalities within the 115…

The Mw 7.8 14 November Hanmer Springs earthquake occurred on or near the interface between the Pacific Plate and the Australian plate (Figure 1). In the North Island of New Zealand, the Pacific Plate is subducting beneath the Australian Plate…

Damaged Buildings in Wellington Nearly 50 earthquake-damaged buildings in Wellington have been inspected by engineers, with some likely to be closed for weeks or longer, and one may require demolition. Yesterday people were asked to stay away from the CBD…

Potential for Future Damaging Earthquakes in New Zealand Geonet and GNS Science have developed a set of maps of probability of damaging shaking for a series of three MMI intensity levels in the next 30 days.  Figure 1a shows the…

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