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Oct 1

Hazard, Risk and Disaster (HRD) Research Lecture Series

October 1, 2022 - May 31, 2023

HRD research events are open to Bath Spa staff and students alike, as well as to the general public. If you’d like to organise an event with HRD, please get in touch with the director, Richard Johnson (r.johnson@bathspa.ac.uk).

The 2022/23 Hazard, Risk and Disaster (HRD) Research Lecture Series will be held online. Full lecture series can be found here and also on the UNDRR PreventionWeb.

Please see below for the latest lectures.

Drivers and trajectories of vulnerability to drought in Mozambique, 1500-present

26th October 2022, 3pm-5pm

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Speaker: Matthew Hannaford, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Lincoln

This presentation examines long run patterns in a key component of this vulnerability: food systems. Specifically, it draws on a new historical database of foodstuffs and food systems for 269 sites in Mozambique and neighbouring areas in order to analyse early colonial impacts on the distribution and relative importance of different foodstuffs and agricultural livelihoods.

While some historians have argued that nineteenth century agricultural systems held a fundamentally similar appearance to their sixteenth century counterparts, this paper points towards significant changes in food-producing livelihoods before the advance of modern capitalism. The role and significance of long-term shifts in food production in shaping vulnerability to drought is considered with respect to past drought events reconstructed from historical documentary records, and finally to contemporary patterns of vulnerability in modern Mozambique.

Find out more and about the speaker here


Natural Hazards: Learning Under Uncertainty

16th November 2022, 3pm-5pm

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Speaker: Oliver Korup is a professor of natural hazards at the University of Potsdam, Germany

Dealing with natural hazards often means predicting and acting under uncertainty. While this uncertainty may have a negative connotation, it is an essential part of communicating and supporting decisions about natural hazards. Regardless, research on natural hazards and disasters has seen a steep, though selective, rise in the amount and diversity of freely available data, and many new technologies to use them. Data have become ubiquitous and made information a powerful currency. Yet, more than ever, we need to filter from these data for making informed predictions, thus adding new layers of uncertainty.

Rapid contemporary climate change and expanding human activities further require that we move away from purely static hazard appraisals. Still, many empirical models in the geosciences rely on estimated averages that largely miss out on variability of form and process. While computational advances have propelled probabilistic models to deal with uncertainties thoroughly and objectively, the resulting products can be challenging to communicate to both researchers and laypersons. Drawing on several examples of predicting impacts by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and glacial outburst floods, I highlight some of the underlying pitfalls and potentials of dealing with uncertainties tied to natural hazards.

Find out more and about the speaker here