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Probabilistic approach to decision-making under uncertainty during volcanic crises: retrospective application to the El Hierro (Spain) 2011 volcanic crisis

Sobradelo, R; Marti, J; Kilburn, C; Lopez, C; (2015) Probabilistic approach to decision-making under uncertainty during volcanic crises: retrospective application to the El Hierro (Spain) 2011 volcanic crisis. NATURAL HAZARDS , 76 (2) pp. 979-998. 10.1007/s11069-014-1530-8. Green open access

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Abstract

Understanding the potential evolution of a volcanic crisis is crucial for designing effective mitigation strategies. This is especially the case for volcanoes close to densely populated regions, where inappropriate decisions may trigger widespread loss of life, economic disruption, and public distress. An outstanding goal for improving the management of volcanic crises, therefore, is to develop objective, real-time methodologies for evaluating how an emergency will develop and how scientists communicate with decision-makers. Here, we present a new model Bayesian Decision Model (BADEMO) that applies a general and flexible, probabilistic approach to managing volcanic crises. The model combines the hazard and risk factors that decision-makers need for a holistic analysis of a volcanic crisis. These factors include eruption scenarios and their probabilities of occurrence, the vulnerability of populations and their activities, and the costs of false alarms and failed forecasts. The model can be implemented before an emergency, to identify actions for reducing the vulnerability of a district; during an emergency, to identify the optimum mitigating actions and how these may change as new information is obtained; and after an emergency, to assess the effectiveness of a mitigating response and, from the results, to improve strategies before another crisis occurs. As illustrated by a retrospective analysis of the 2011 eruption of El Hierro, in the Canary Islands, BADEMO provides the basis for quantifying the uncertainty associated with each recommended action as an emergency evolves and serves as a mechanism for improving communications between scientists and decision-makers.

Type: Article
Title: Probabilistic approach to decision-making under uncertainty during volcanic crises: retrospective application to the El Hierro (Spain) 2011 volcanic crisis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-014-1530-8
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-014-1530-8
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Keywords: Decision theory, Decision-making, Volcanic crises, Bayesian analysis, Communicating probabilities, Expected losses, El Hierro
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471428
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