Natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale

Philip J. Ward*, Veit Blauhut, Nadia Bloemendaal, E. James Daniell, C. Marleen De Ruiter, J. Melanie Duncan, Robert Emberson, F. Susanna Jenkins, Dalia Kirschbaum, Michael Kunz, Susanna Mohr, Sanne Muis, A. Graeme Riddell, Andreas Schäfer, Thomas Stanley, I. E.Ted Veldkamp, C. Hessel Winsemius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since 1990, natural hazards have led to over 1.6 million fatalities globally, and economic losses are estimated at an average of around USD 260-310 billion per year. The scientific and policy communities recognise the need to reduce these risks. As a result, the last decade has seen a rapid development of global models for assessing risk from natural hazards at the global scale. In this paper, we review the scientific literature on natural hazard risk assessments at the global scale, and we specifically examine whether and how they have examined future projections of hazard, exposure, and/or vulnerability. In doing so, we examine similarities and differences between the approaches taken across the different hazards, and we identify potential ways in which different hazard communities can learn from each other. For example, there are a number of global risk studies focusing on hydrological, climatological, and meteorological hazards that have included future projections and disaster risk reduction measures (in the case of floods), whereas fewer exist in the peer-reviewed literature for global studies related to geological hazards. On the other hand, studies of earthquake and tsunami risk are now using stochastic modelling approaches to allow for a fully probabilistic assessment of risk, which could benefit the modelling of risk from other hazards. Finally, we discuss opportunities for learning from methods and approaches being developed and applied to assess natural hazard risks at more continental or regional scales. Through this paper, we hope to encourage further dialogue on knowledge sharing between disciplines and communities working on different hazards and risk and at different spatial scales..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1096
Number of pages28
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020


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