Natural hazards

  • Article
    | Open Access

    As sea levels rise, coasts are being increasingly  threatened by overtopping caused by the combination of sea level rise, storm surge and wave runup. Here the authors find that global coastal overtopping has increased by over 50% in the last two decades, and under a RCP 8.5 scenario this could increase up to 50 times by 2100 compared to today.

    • Rafael Almar
    • , Roshanka Ranasinghe
    •  & Elodie Kestenare
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Models of the viscosity evolution of mantle rocks are central to analyses of postseismic deformation but constraints on underlying physical processes are lacking. Here, the authors present measurements of microscale stress heterogeneity in olivine suggesting that long-range dislocation interactions contribute to viscosity evolution.

    • David Wallis
    • , Lars N. Hansen
    •  & Ricardo A. Lebensohn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Open fires can increase heavy exposure to hazardous particulate matters, and thus harm human health, particularly among the vulnerable individuals, such as pregnant women. Here, the authors show an association between maternal exposure to fire smoke and increased risk of pregnancy loss in South Asia.

    • Tao Xue
    • , Guannan Geng
    •  & Tong Zhu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This study investigates the relation between El Nino and landslide impacts. The authors show how El Nino and La Nina can cause swings in exposure of population to landslides that are as large as those due to rainy-season/dry-season variability in key locations, particularly South America.

    • Robert Emberson
    • , Dalia Kirschbaum
    •  & Thomas Stanley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Superfund sites have hazardous wastes that could affect the health of those who live near them, but this has not been assessed across the USA. Here the authors find that proximity to superfund sites decreases life expectancy and is further exacerbated by sociodemographic and climate change factors.

    • Amin Kiaghadi
    • , Hanadi S. Rifai
    •  & Clint N. Dawson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This study shows how seismic and aseismic events are related in Mexico between 2017 and 2019. Based on a series of observations and models, the study suggests that the Mw 8.2 intraslab earthquake of 8 September 2017 severely altered the mechanical properties of the plate interface, facilitating the interaction between the events and disrupting the slow slip cycles at a regional scale.

    • V. M. Cruz-Atienza
    • , J. Tago
    •  & E. Kazachkina
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Large fissure eruptions can cause air pollution events when the volcanic plume returns to the same area after the initial advisory has been lifted. Here, the authors show that these events had a significant impact on health care usage in Iceland, and the impact was exacerbated when advisories were not issued successfully.

    • Hanne Krage Carlsen
    • , Evgenia Ilyinskaya
    •  & Thorolfur Gudnason
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fire activity in China and its associations with climate are not well quantified at a local scale. Here, the authors present a detailed fire occurrence dataset for China and find a dipole fire pattern between southwestern and southeastern China that is modulated by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

    • Keyan Fang
    • , Qichao Yao
    •  & Valerie Trouet
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Recently triggered seismic events such as the Pohang earthquake have exceeded predictions of average energy releases by a factor of 1000. A new framework is proposed to define maximum event magnitudes as a function of pre-existing critical stresses and fluid injection volume.

    • Ziyan Li
    • , Derek Elsworth
    •  & M. W. McClure
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Generally it is thought that ash aggregation leads to reduced atmospheric travel distances. Here, the authors show that the rafting effect can increase dispersal range by up to 3.7 times for particles between 300–500 μm, compared to sedimentation of individual clasts.

    • Eduardo Rossi
    • , Gholamhossein Bagheri
    •  & Costanza Bonadonna
  • Article
    | Open Access

    COVID-19 might occur together with other natural disasters but frameworks to quantify collective effects is lacking. Here, the authors investigated the readiness of a healthcare system in the face of wildfire during an epidemic by assuming the COVID-19 pandemic occurred around the same time with the Camp Fire case in Butte Country California 2018/2019.

    • Emad M. Hassan
    •  & Hussam N. Mahmoud
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors here investigate the stiffness reduction of solid geomaterials during earthquakes via combining field, experimental and numerical data. The study shows multiple metastable contacts at small surface separations below a few diameters of a water molecule due to the oscillatory hydration interaction.

    • Su-Yang Wang
    • , Hai-Yang Zhuang
    •  & Yu Miao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors here present a multi-lake paleoseismological approach to evaluate the role of earthquakes in causing a spatio-temporal cluster of large, prehistoric rockslides between 3000 and 4200 years ago in the Eastern European Alps and for which the triggering mechanisms are still debated.

    • Patrick Oswald
    • , Michael Strasser
    •  & Jasper Moernaut
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors simulate bubble nucleation in silica-rich magma with conditions appropriate for Plinian eruptions. They demonstrate that the gap between decompression rate estimates from bubble number density and independent geospeedometers can be largely closed if nucleation is heterogenous facilitated by magnetite crystals and decompression rate is calculated as time-averaged values.

    • Sahand Hajimirza
    • , Helge M. Gonnermann
    •  & James E. Gardner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mechanisms that drive highly explosive eruptions of low-viscosity magmas, such as at Sunset Crater volcano, remain uncertain. Here, the authors present evidence for an exsolved CO2 phase ~15 km beneath Sunset Crater that was the critical driver of rapid magma ascent leading to the explosive eruption.

    • Chelsea M. Allison
    • , Kurt Roggensack
    •  & Amanda B. Clarke
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether disasters spur policy change remains contested. Here, the authors utilize a dataset of 10,976 natural hazard events and multiple disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy indicators across 85 countries over eight years to show that frequency and severity factors are unassociated with improved DRR policy.

    • Daniel Nohrstedt
    • , Maurizio Mazzoleni
    •  & Giuliano Di Baldassarre
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Compound climate events such as floods and droughts together can cause severe socio-economic impacts. Here, the authors analyse global hazard pairs from 1980–2014 and find global hotspots for the occurrence of compound events.

    • Nina N. Ridder
    • , Andy J. Pitman
    •  & Jakob Zscheischler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors show that seismogenic faults can be activated by stress perturbations by all possible modes of slip independently of the frictional properties. They demonstrate, that the nature of seismicity is mostly governed by the initial stress level along the faults.

    • François X. Passelègue
    • , Michelle Almakari
    •  & Marie Violay
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Exposure to extreme events is a major concern in coastal regions where human populations and stressed ecosystems are at risk to such phenomena. Here the authors show a marine heatwave on the continental shelf resulted from a novel set of compounding effects due to a tropical storm followed by an atmospheric heatwave.

    • B. Dzwonkowski
    • , J. Coogan
    •  & T. Lee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hospital systems are critical, especially in providing healthcare services after disasters. Here, the authors revealed that in Lima the spatial distribution of health service demands mismatches the capacities of hospitals after earthquakes, leaving large zones on the periphery significantly underserved.

    • Luis Ceferino
    • , Judith Mitrani-Reiser
    •  & Celso Bambarén
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this study, the authors investigate the predictability of sudden eruptions, motivated by the 2019 eruption at Whakaari (White Island), New Zealand. The paper proposes a machine learning approach that is able to identify eruption precursors in data streaming from a single seismic station at Whakaari.

    • D. E. Dempsey
    • , S. J. Cronin
    •  & A. W. Kempa-Liehr
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How climate change affects the translation speed of tropical cyclones has been the subject of intensive debate. Here, the authors use models to show that future regional changes in the steering winds lead to faster-moving tropical cyclones as they make landfall in Texas.

    • Pedram Hassanzadeh
    • , Chia-Ying Lee
    •  & Laurence Y. Yeung
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The proliferation of dams since 1950 has promoted sediment deposition in reservoirs, which is thought to be starving the coast of sediment and decreasing resistance to storms and sea-level rise. Here, the authors show that century-long records of sediment mass accumulation rates and sediment accumulation rates more than doubled after 1950 in coastal depocenters around North America.

    • A. B. Rodriguez
    • , B. A. McKee
    •  & A. N. Atencio
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this study, Smith and colleagues employ analogue experiments to show the controlling parameters on sediment bedforms in pyroclastic density current deposits. The findings are applied and validated on natural deposits.

    • Gregory Smith
    • , Peter Rowley
    •  & Samuel Capon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Landslides are damaging natural hazards and can often lead to unexpected casualties and property damage. Here, the authors conduct geodetic and hydrological data analyses of the Slumgullion landslide, Colorado, and quantify the mass movement to find it fits a power-law flow theory and responds to hydroclimatic variability.

    • Xie Hu
    • , Roland Bürgmann
    •  & Eric J. Fielding
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Every year, hundreds of people die at sea because of vessel accidents, and a key challenge in reducing these fatalities is to make Search and Rescue (SAR) planning more efficient. Here, the authors uncover hidden flow features that attract floating objects, providing specific information for optimal SAR planning.

    • Mattia Serra
    • , Pratik Sathe
    •  & George Haller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Floods are an important natural disaster on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, but their driving mechanisms are not well understood. Here, the authors utilize data from twitter messages and local newspaper reports to show that convectively coupled Kelvin waves play a key role in promoting floods on Sumatra.

    • Dariusz B. Baranowski
    • , Maria K. Flatau
    •  & Marzuki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Subglacial lakes and jökulhlaups (glacier outburst floods) are common in volcanic and glaciated environments, and can pose potential threats to communities living downstream. Here, the authors find that seismic tremor signals during subglacial floods can be used to locate and track the speed and size of the flood before it arrives at the river system, and improves previous methods of early glacial flood warning by a factor of 5.

    • Eva P. S. Eibl
    • , Christopher J. Bean
    •  & Kristin S. Vogfjörd
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There lacks a European cost-benefit analysis of possible protective measures against rising seas. Here the authors used a probabilistic data and modeling framework to estimate costs and benefits of coastal protection measures and found that at least 83% of flood damages could be avoided by dyke improvements along a third of the European coastline.

    • Michalis I. Vousdoukas
    • , Lorenzo Mentaschi
    •  & Luc Feyen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A primary element of modern wildfire management is to aggressively suppress small fires before they become large, but benefits can be offset by the fact that these practices promote older forests that are more ‘flammable’. Here the authors show that this downside puts numerous human communities at elevated risk of fires in boreal Canada.

    • Marc-André Parisien
    • , Quinn E. Barber
    •  & Sean A. Parks
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tropical cyclones can cause severe flooding when making landfall, but these water flows can often only be forecasted a few hours before. Here, the authors present a new approach using self-organizing maps and flow characteristic curves to predict tropical cyclone related runoff up to two days in advance.

    • Li-Chiu Chang
    • , Fi-John Chang
    •  & Edwin E. Herricks
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Natural hazards can have huge impacts on individuals and societies, however, monitoring the economic recovery in the aftermath of extreme events remains a challenge. Here, the authors find that Facebook posting activity of small businesses can be used to monitor post-disaster economic recovery, and can allow local governments to better target distribution of resources.

    • Robert Eyre
    • , Flavia De Luca
    •  & Filippo Simini
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Economic estimates of flood damages rely on depth–damage functions that are inadequately verified. Here, the authors assessed flood vulnerability in the US and found that current depth–damage functions consist of disparate relationships that match poorly with observations which better follow a bimodal beta distribution.

    • Oliver E. J. Wing
    • , Nicholas Pinter
    •  & Carolyn Kousky
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Giant rockslides creep slowly for centuries and then can fail catastrophically, posing major threats to society. Here, the authors use observational and experimental evidence to quantitatively capture the full spectrum of giant rockslide behaviour until collapse, that is modulated by hydro-mechanical response to short-term fluid pressure perturbations.

    • Federico Agliardi
    • , Marco M. Scuderi
    •  & Cristiano Collettini