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Multi-hazard dependencies can increase or decrease risk

In risk analysis, it is recognized that hazards can often combine to worsen their joint impact, but impact data for a rail network show that hazards can also tend to be mutually exclusive at seasonal timescales. Ignoring this overestimates worst-case risk, so we therefore champion a broader view of risk from compound hazards.

Fig. 1: Illustration of plausible effects when the activity of hazard(s) switches between climatologically controlled modes of behaviour, based on Great Britain.
Fig. 2: Winter multi-hazard impacts in Great Britain.

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Correspondence to John K. Hillier.

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Peer review information Nature Climate Change thanks David Bresch, Rob Lamb and Jakob Zscheischler for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Discussions 1–3 and Figs. 1 and 2.

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Hillier, J.K., Matthews, T., Wilby, R.L. et al. Multi-hazard dependencies can increase or decrease risk. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 595–598 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0832-y

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