Increasing the Understanding and Characterisation of Natural Hazard Interactions

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis develops global and regional interaction frameworks to enhance understanding, characterisation, and visualisation of natural hazard interactions. This aims to support the international development of multi-hazard methodologies. Chapter 2 presents a comprehensive characterisation and visualisation of the interactions between 21 natural hazards. We critically review 209 references to populate a global interaction matrix with 90 natural hazard interactions, noting case studies for 74 (82%) of these. Chapter 3 develops a multi-hazard framework integrating natural hazards, anthropogenic processes and technological hazards/disasters. Variation in spatial and temporal extent, frequency and impact are examined in the context of four case studies of networks of hazard interactions (cascades). Chapter 4 presents a systematic classification of 18 anthropogenic processes, describing their influence on 21 natural hazards. We critically review 121 references to construct a database of 57 examples of anthropogenic processes triggering natural hazards, with case studies identified for 52 (91%) of these. Chapter 5 uses existing regional interaction frameworks to identify seven challenges when developing regional interaction frameworks: spatial extent, temporal extent, likelihood-magnitude relationships, hazard selection/classification, consensus, visual style, and limitations/uncertainty. We reflect on these challenges using 19 semi-structured interviews and a 3-hour workshop with hazard and civil protection professionals in Guatemala. Chapter 6 develops regional (national/sub-national) interaction frameworks for Guatemala. We use peer- and grey-literature, field observations, interviews and a workshop to construct two hazard interaction matrices: (i) 21×21 national matrix, 49 interactions found; (ii) 33×33 sub-national (Southern Highlands) matrix, 112 interactions found. Using Matthews’ Correlation Coefficient (MCC) the national matrix is contrasted with Guatemalan stakeholders’ individual (0.21≤MCC≤0.45) and collective (MCC=0.51) knowledge. This thesis gives a series of generalised globally relevant and location-specific characterisations of interactions, presented using a range of accessible visualisation formats. These interaction frameworks can contribute to improved theoretical and practical understanding of hazards and disaster risk reduction.

Note to Reader. Chapters 5 and 6, and associated Appendices, have been omitted from the e-thesis due to inclusion of third party copyright material for which permissions could not be granted. Chapter summaries are included, together with a chapter breakdown within the Table of Contents. Page numbering throughout has not been changed from the published thesis. Please contact the author for further information on any material within this thesis.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorBruce Malamud (Supervisor) & Mark Pelling (Supervisor)

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