XClose

UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction

Home
Menu

IRDR News

David Alexander publishes article in Irish Times

On 18 October 2017, David Alexander, Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction at IRDR, published an opinion piece in the Irish Times newspaper on "Why Ireland had to shut down for Ophelia". In the article he explained why it is necessary to impose safety measures when large storms arrive, even though they may no longer be fully-fledged hurricanes.

Publication date:

UN Guidelines Issued on Disaster Risk Assessment

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has issued a major new set of guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment: Governance System, Methodologies, and Use of Results. Gianluca Pescaroli and David Alexander of the UCL-IRDR Cascading Disasters Research Group authored a section entitled "An introduction to cascading risk and cascading disasters" (pp. 25-31). Their work is referred to in other parts of this report, as cascading risks and impacts are an important cross-cutting issue in disaster reduction. The report can be dowloaded from the UNISDR website at

Publication date:

Increasing Resilience to Environmental Hazards in Border Conflict Zones: Leh Workshop


A joint workshop between UCL IRDR and University of Jammu Institute of Energy Research and Training (IERT) was held in Leh, India between 9-11 July 2017. Researchers, practitioners, policy makers, students, and the interested public discussed field activities, prominent challenges, and resilience strategies at local, regional and international levels. Stakeholders and academics from the district, state, and the wider Hindu Kush Himalaya region represented the knowledge and perspectives of the resident populations. The workshop successfully created a dialogue around building resilience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region as well as highlighted avenues for further collaboration and action. Greater detail around the topics discussed is included in the workshop report.

Publication date:

David Alexander's Article has been reported as Most Popular by Development Editor for Oxford University Press New York

Lee Oglesby, Development Editor for Oxford University Press New York, reports that Professor David Alexander's article on "Disaster and Emergency Planning for Preparedness, Response and Recovery" in the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Natural Hazard Science has been downloaded almost 12,500 times over the last year. It is thus one of the most popular entries in this widely-read, on-line resource. Professor Alexander has another entry that is about to appear in the same volume, this time on "Corruption and the Governance of Natural Disaster Risk." The disaster planning article is freely available in html and pdf formats at:http://naturalhazardscience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.001.0001/acrefore-9780199389407-e-12?rskey=gyStoh&result=2

Publication date:

IAHR editor's choice Articles 2017 - "Implications of cascading effects for the EU Floods Directive"

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) selected a paper by the UCL IRDR research group on Cascading Disasters among the Editor's choice of 2017. The work  is titled  "Implications of cascading effects for the EU Floods Directive" has been included among the representatives of high-quality research published in the International Journal of River Basin Management in the last year. 

Publication date:

Disaster in Japan 2011: The Latest Research

On Friday 23rd January 2017, UCL-IRDR hosted a special symposium entitled "Disaster in Japan 2011: The Latest Research." The event was organised by Professor Kenji Koshiyama of Kansai University, with help from Professor David Alexander of UCL-IRDR. Speakers and panellists were drawn from UCL and a variety of leading Japanese universities.

Publication date:

Two Research Associate Positions in Digital Health

We are now recruiting two new research associate positions in digital health. The application deadline for both positions has now been extended until 28th August 2017. Follow the links below for full job descriptions and application guidelines.

Publication date:

New research published: Tourism industry financing of climate change adaptation in Small Island Developing States

Tourism is the most important economic sector in many small island developing states (SIDS), often driving development. Tourism in these island nations is however, threatened by climate change impacts, such as sea level rises or tropical cyclones. To cope with the damage costs of these impacts, a larger amount of money will be needed. This raises the question of who should pay for climate change adaptations, and whether it is the government and the tourism industry that are ultimately responsible. 

Publication date:

Sea Ice Experiments at Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA)

Field-scale laboratory experiments on artificially grown sea ice were undertaken in May 2017 by an international team of researchers at Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA). The project was organised by IRDR PhD students Sally Scourfield and Mark Shortt, and IRDR Director Prof. Peter Sammonds. The experiments conducted were designed to investigate the effects of ice rubble angularity on friction, and also the consolidation rate and strength of rafted sea ice. The rapid decline of sea ice extent in the Arctic brings with it the prospect of increased shipping in the region, as speculation rises that routes through the Northwest and Northeast passages might become commercially viable in the near future. However with this increased activity comes greater exposure to the problems and hazards associated with the interactions between ships and sea ice. Ice rubble accumulations around ports and in frequently used channels through sea ice cover can provide substantial resistance and sometimes prevent transit entirely. Similarly, the rubble generated when ice floes interact with fixed structures can exert large forces on them, which can become hazardous if not properly managed. Experiments at HSVA will contribute to research that helps address these issues and in doing so make the Arctic a safer and more accessible environment for industrial activity. 

Publication date:

EEFIT publishes its latest report on the Kumamoto Japan earthquake

The Institution of Structural Engineers’ Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) has now published its report on the Kumamoto Japan earthquake of 14th and 16th April 2016. Peter Sammonds from the IRDR was part of the EEFIT team for this research. The report can be found on the EEFIT website here.

Publication date:

IRDR 7th Annual Conference Report

Our 7th Annual conference was held on 21st June 2017 and attended by over 150 people. Our audience, speakers, and presenters came from a range of different backgrounds, and all gathered together to share and discuss research, approaches and initiatives to work towards the aim of reducing global disaster risk. It was a great opportunity for academics, practitioners, students, policy makers and the interested public to share ideas, discuss current challenges and new ideas, and to network.

Publication date:

An Era Defining Mission: NASA’s Solar Probe Plus to Predict Solar Storms

Dr Robert Wicks, UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, explains to BBC World News viewers how NASA’s next solar mission will help aid scientific understanding of solar activity and enable astronomers to better predict solar storms. Solar flares launch radiation and matter outwards compressing the earth’s magnetic field and can cause, amongst other things, radio interference and power failures.

Publication date:

UCL Build and Launch Cube Satellites

Last week saw the deployment of 28 CubeSats from the International Space Station as part of the QB50 mission. UCL IRDR Lecturer Dr Robert Wicks is the project manager of the nine UCL scientific instruments flying on this mission. The Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS), designed and built at UCL, measures the concentrations of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Nitrous Oxide ions in the thermosphere, the top layer of the atmosphere, as the CubeSats descend from a 400km altitude until they are destroyed at an altitude of around 200km. These will form the first measurements of atmospheric composition from satellites at these altitudes, and will provide our first ever look at the transport of these ions around the world. Ions of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Nitrous Oxide are generated near the North and South poles by the aurora and are then transported around the globe by very high-altitude winds. Tracking how these molecules move around in the thermosphere will help us to understand the chemistry and weather in the top layer of the atmosphere, and enable us to better predict atmospheric drag on satellites and the impact of space weather on the atmosphere.

Publication date:

G7 Academies Statement on Heritage and Disasters

The IRDR provided input into the G7 Academies Statement on Cultural heritage: building resilience to natural disasters. This statement is now live on the Royal Society website: https://royalsociety.org/~/media/about-us/international/g-science-statements/2017-may-cultural-heritage.pdf?la=en-GB. Professor Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society, represented the Royal Society in the handover of the statement to Italian Ministers Franceschini and Padoan: http://www.lincei.it/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=190

Publication date:

IRDR PhD student chosen to present at L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Ceremony

On 4th May 2017, The Royal Society in London hosted the 10th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship Awards. For the last 10 years this annual Fellowship program has supported outstanding female postdoctoral researchers to continue their research. As part of the L’Oréal-UNESCO wider programme aimed at supporting and increasing the number of women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions, this year the awards ceremony included, for the second time, a poster competition for female PhD students in the UK and Ireland. Amy Chadderton, PhD student in the IRDR, was selected from over 500 entries as one of the final ten PhD students and was invited to present her PhD research at the Awards Ceremony. Here is her account of the evening:

Publication date:

New research publication: Understanding the Economic Impact of Space Weather

The Sun and conditions in space that contribute to space weather can impact on human activity and technology both in space, in the air and on Earth. In 1859, the largest space weather event ever recorded occurred, known as the Carrington event. In addition to the global aurora, telegraph operators reported sparks from their equipment and fires caused by the power surge. That happened at a time when technology was

Publication date:

UCL IRDR Projects Win Funding

Projects led by UCL’s Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction and Department of Statistical Science are among 29 that have been backed by the Building Resilience research programme to tackle a range of life-threatening hazards, from droughts and land degradation to volcanoes, earthquakes and flooding. The programme, run by the NERC, ESRC and AHRC, forms part of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), a £1·5bn UK government fund to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.

Publication date: