Resources

   Final report: Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) scoping study

D. Lumbroso, J. Rance, G. Pearce and S. Wade

This scoping study was prepared to provide evidence in support of the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) research programme on risk assessments and early warning systems. The main focus of the programme is on weather-related hazards (e.g. cyclones, floods, droughts, landslides) for humanitarian and development purposes in low-income countries across Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia.

   Increasing resilience to natural hazards through crowd-sourcing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Mee, K.; Duncan, M.J.

Volcanic environments exposed to multiple hazards tend to be characterised by a lack of relevant data available both in real time and over the longer term. There are more than 100 institutions worldwide that monitor volcanoes and other natural hazards, contribute to early warning systems and are embedded in communities. They have a key role in building resilience alongside civil protection/emergency management agencies. In this report, we propose that such institutions are involved in big data initiatives and related research projects.

   Big data for climate change and disaster resilience: realising the benefits for developing countries

Anttila-Hughes, J.; Dumas, M.; Jones, L.; Pestre, G.; Qiu, Y.; Levy, M.; et al.

This document is a synthesis report for the “Big Data for Resilience: Realising the Benefits for Developing Countries” project funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID). It draws on an extensive review and analysis of the available academic and policy literature as well as the main findings of eleven contributions commissioned by DfID with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economics and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) as part of the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience Programme.

   Early Flood Detection for Rapid Humanitarian Response: Harnessing Near Real-Time Satellite and Twitter Signals

Brenden Jongman, Jurjen Wagemaker, Beatriz Revilla Romero and Erin Coughlan De Perez

Humanitarian organizations have a crucial role in response and relief efforts after floods. The effectiveness of disaster response is contingent on accurate and timely information regarding the location, timing and impacts of the event. This paper demonstrates how two near-real-time data sources, satellite observations of water coverage and flood-related social media activity from Twitter, can be used to support rapid disaster response, using case-studies in the Philippines and Pakistan.

   Pre- and post-seismic deformation related to the 2015, Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal.

Adriano Gualandi, Jean-PhilippeAvouac, John Galetzka, Joachim F.Genrich, Geoffrey Blewitt, Lok Bijaya Adhikari, Bharat Prasad Koirala, Ratnamani Gupta, Bishal Nath Upreti, BethPratt-Sitaula, Jing Liu-Zengi

This paper analysises recordings from GPS stations in Nepal before and after the earthquake which took place in Nepal on 25 April 2015.

   Solving the Puzzle Report: Innovating to reduce risk

This report provides a community perspective on priorities for future collaboration and investment in the development and use of disaster risk information for developing countries. The focus is on high-impact activities that will promote the creation and use of risk-related data, catastrophe risk models, and platforms, and that will improve and facilitate the understanding and communication of risk assessment results.

   Earthquake and its aftershocks: Implications for lateral heterogeneity on the Main Himalayan Thrust

Ajay Kumar, Shashwat K. Singh, S. Mitra, K.F. Priestley, Shankar Dayal

This paper examines the main shock and aftershocks of the earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015.

   Mapping the role of insurance in managing disaster losses: A study of low and low-middle income countries

Overseas Development Institue and Risk Managment Solutions

This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to provide quantitative evidence of the potential scale of natural hazard-related disasters that could be covered by insurance, or other ex-ante risk financing instruments, in the next ten years.

   Should seasonal rainfall forecasts be used for flood preparedness?

Erin Coughlan de Perez, Elisabeth Stephens, Konstantinos Bischiniotis, Maarten van Aalst, Bart van den Hurk, Simon Mason, Hannah Nissan, and Florian Pappenberger

In light of the strong encouragement for disaster managers to use climate services for flood preparedness, this paper examines the usefulness of seasonal rainfall forecasts as indicators of the likeliness of flooding.

   Citizen science for hydrological risk reduction and resilience building

Jonathan D. Paul, Wouter Buytaert, Simon Allen, Juan A. Ballesteros-Cánovas, Jagat Bhusal, Katarzyna Cieslik, Julian Clark, Sumit Dugar, David M. Hannah, Markus Stoffel, Art Dewulf, Megh R. Dhital, Wei Liu, Janak Lal Nayaval, Bhanu Neupane, Arnulf Schiller, Paul J. Smith, Robert Supper

There is a shift in disaster risk management towards more participatory, community-based approaches. This paper reviews citizen science for hydological risk reduction and resilience building, exploring how citizen science can complement more traditional practices to enhance innovation and adaptation in risk management and resilience building.

   Satellite-based emergency mapping using optical imagery: experience and reflections from the 2015 Nepal earthquakes

Williams, J. G., Rosser, N. J., Kincey, M. E., Benjamin, J., Oven, K. J., Densmore, A. L., Milledge, D. G., Robinson, T. R., Jordan, C. A., and Dijkstra, T. A.

Landslides triggered by large earthquakes in mountainous regions contribute significantly to overall earthquake losses and can continue to pose a threat for months or even years. While scientific investigations of earthquake-triggered landsliding are increasingly common, there is no protocol for rapid (hours-to-days) humanitarian-facing landslide assessment. This paper draws on the earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 to consider how quickly a landslide assessment based upon manual satellite-based emergency mapping (SEM) can be realistically achieved, with the aim of informing the approach taken by scientists to understand the evolving landslide hazard in future events and the expectations of the humanitarian community involved in disaster response.

   Data schema and data for global exposure database

Global Earthquake Model Foundation

The Global Earthquake Model Foundation, ImageCat Inc. and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team were selected to developed the open data schema to store information about the built environment as part of Challenge Fund 2. This data schema (GED4ALL) is capable of storing information concerning buildings, critical facilities, lifelines, crops, forestry, livestock and socio-economic data in a uniform and consistent manner, and following a classification system which captures a number of attributes relevant for multi-hazard risk analysis. This classification system considered six natural hazards (earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, strong winds, tsunamis and drought) for the identification of the attributes necessary to classify assets according to their vulnerability.

   Data schema and data for multi-hazard database

British Geological Survey

This final report provides a summary of the development of a multi-hazard data schema and prototype database based on seven natural hazards (droughts, earthquakes, floods, landslides, storm surges, tsunamis, and volcanoes). The data scehma and prototype database is scalable globally and has been tested with data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.

   Forecasting hazards, averting disasters: Implementing forecast-based early action at scale

Wilkinson, K.; Weingärtner, L; Choularton, R.; Bailey, M.; Todd, M.C.; Kniveton, D.; Cabot Venton, C

This paper identifies the core features of over 25 Forecast-based Early Action instruments designed to anticipate and reduce the impacts of natural and man-made hazards. It outlines how, by integrating forecast-based decision-making in existing national and international organisations and NGO delivery systems and in international humanitarian financing mechanisms, forecasts could play a more significant role in humanitarian practice and disaster risk management.

   A tool for the automatic calculation of rainfall thresholds for landslide occurrence

Melillo M., Brunetti M.T., Peruccacci S., Gariano S.L., Roccati A., Guzzetti F.

Rainfall thresholds are commonly used to forecast landslide occurrence in wide areas. However, these thresholds are affected by several uncertainties which limits their use in landslide early warning systems. This paper outlines the development of a comprehensive tool, CTRL-T, designed to address this by automatically reconstructing rainfall events and the conditions responsible for landslide events, and calculates rainfall thresholds at different probabilities of the thresholds being exceeded.

   Data schema and data for a global database of vulnerability functions

University College London Consultants

This document provides a guidance manual for accessing and entering data into the MOVER (Multi-Hazard Open Vulnerability Platform for Evaluating Risk) project’s Level 3 Vulnerability Data Schema. The MOVER Level 3 data schema is designed mainly for use in the evaluation of vulnerability of developing countries. It provides a platform for the collection of vulnerability data on diverse physical assets (people, crops, residential buildings, industrial warehouses, commercial properties, schools and hospitals, and key components of water, electricity, gas, telecommunications, and transportation networks) subjected to a number of different natural hazard effects (strong winds, earthquakes, riverine floods, storm surge, landslides, tsunami, drought and volcanic ash). The data schema is also designed to capture social vulnerability information, and can accommodate data collected at different geographical scales.

   Hydrological modelling as a tool for interdisciplinary workshops on future drought

Rangecroft, S., Birkinshaw, S., Rohse, M., Day, R., McEwen, L., Makaya, E. and Van Loon, A.F.,

In a community-based study in the Limpopo basin of South Africa, physical and social science methods were brought together to run interdisciplinary workshops aimed at enhancing preparedness for possible future drought. To generate storylines for the workshops, relevant scenarios were modelled using a catchment-scale hydrological model, SHETRAN. Set up using freely available data, local knowledge, and narrative-based group interviews on past experiences of drought, the model acted as a locally-relevant tool for prompting discussions about potential future drought impacts, responses and preparedness, and to stimulate the production of community future narratives.This paper discusses the elements involved in the modelling process: the building of the model through an interdisciplinary approach; setting up the model with limited data; and the translation of the model results into storylines for the workshops.

   Impact of remotely sensed soil moisture and precipitation on soil moisture prediction in a data assimilation system with the JULES land surface model.

Pinnington, E., Quaife, T. and Black, E.

In regions where the population relies on subsistence farming it is soil moisture, rather than precipitation, that is the critical factor in growing crops. The production of improved soil moisture forecasts should therefore enhance the drought resilience of these regions through improved capacity for early warning agricultural drought. This paper describes a method for improving soil moisture estimates over Ghana through the assimilation of remotely sensed soil moisture and the use of improved satellite-observed rainfall.

   Topography-driven satellite imagery analysis for landslide mapping

Alvioli M., Mondini A.C., Fiorucci F., Cardinali M. and Marchesini I.

Landslides represent a serious hazard in many areas of the world, and particularly in tropical regions, where storms trigger every year thousands of them. The most effective source of information to document the landslide event extension and magnitude in a region is a landslide inventory map. Different types of landslide inventories exist, and they are the key input to derive landslide hazard and risk maps. Knowledge of the extent of landslide events is fundamental for risk management, preparedness and recovery actions. This paper describes a semi-automatic procedure for the classification of satellite imagery into landslide or no landslide categories, aimed at preparing event landslide inventory maps.

   Direct and indirect seasonal rainfall forecasts for East Africa using global dynamical models

Andrew W. Colman Richard J. Graham Michael K. Davey

The Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) is prone to recurrent drought and flood events often with devastating impacts on local societies. To facilitate preparedness, seasonal forecasting of rainfall is a key activity for National Meteorological Services in the region, and is supported by the GHA Regional Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) which includes contributions from global producers of seasonal forecasts. Regional-scale seasonal climate outlooks are typically produced using forecast information either local to the region or from another area with teleconnections to the region. This paper compares these two approaches in the context of seasonal rainfall forecasts for two adjoining areas GHA region.

   Seasonal predictability of onset and cessation of the east African rains.

MacLeod, D.

Advanced warning of delayed starts or early ends to the rainy seasons would be extremely valuable information for farmers in East Africa and is a common request from regional stakeholders. Such warnings are beginning to be provided, however their accuracy has not yet been demonstrated. This paper evaluates the accuracy of ECMWF seasonal of forecasts of the start and end of rainy seasons in East Africa.

   TAMSAT-ALERT v1: a new framework for agricultural decision support

Asfaw, D., Black, E., Brown, M., Nicklin, K. J., Otu-Larbi, F., Pinnington, E., Challinor, A., Maidment, R. and Quaife, T

Early warning of weather-related hazards enables farmers, policy makers and aid agencies to mitigate their exposure to risk. This paper presents a new operational framework which aims to provide early warning for meteorological risk to agriculture. TAMSAT-ALERT combines information on land-surface properties, seasonal forecasts and historical weather to quantitatively assess the likelihood of adverse weather-related outcomes, such as low yield.

   Water sensor network applications: time to move beyond the technical?

Mao, F., Clark, J., Buytaert, W., Krause, S., Hannah, D.M

There has been a recent dramatic increase the range and diversity of hydrological and water resources projects using low-cost sensor networks to collect data across space-time. The scope of available low-cost modules (such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Xbee) and inexpensive sensors now enables rapid development of robust sensor networks that are highly effective and easily assembled. “Non-technical challenges” concern how the implementation of sensing, information, and communication technologies can be transformed into applications that meet contemporary societal challenges, such as water resources management, disaster resilience building, and sustainable development. It is increasingly evident that these societal challenges should play a more important role than technological considerations in evaluating successful applications of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

   Developing a global operational seasonal hydro-meteorological forecasting system: GloFAS-Seasonal v1.0

Emerton, R., Zsoter, E., Arnal, L., Cloke, H. L., Muraro, D., Prudhomme, C., Stephens, E. M., Salamon, P., and Pappenberger, F

Global overviews of upcoming flood and drought events are key disaster risk reduction. Seasonal forecasts are designed to provide early indications of such events weeks or even months in advance, but seasonal forecasts for hydrological variables at large or global scales are few and far between. This paper presents the first operational global-scale seasonal hydro-meteorological forecasting system: GloFAS-Seasonal. Developed as an extension of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS), GloFAS-Seasonal couples seasonal meteorological forecasts from ECMWF with a hydrological model to provide openly available probabilistic forecasts of river flow out to four months ahead for the global river network. This system has potential benefits not only for disaster risk reduction through early awareness of floods and droughts, but also for water-related sectors such as agriculture and water resources management, in particular for regions where no other forecasting system exists.

   El Nino 2018-19: Historical Impact Analysis

N. Klingaman and W. Keat

El Niño events are a significant perturbation, or ‘kick’, to the climate system and can affect weather patterns globally. This report analyses El Niño events over the last 35 years and aims to identify regions where changes in temperature and rainfall are likely.

   Exploring a water data, evidence, and governance theory

Zogheib, C., Ochoa-Tocachi, B.F., Paul, J.D., Hannah, D.M., Clark, J., Buytaert, W

The hydrological evidence on which water resource management and broader governance decisions are based is often very limited, especially in lower- and middle-income countries, where data are scarce and pressure on water resources is often already very high and increasing. Historically, several governance theories have been put forward to examine water resource management. One of the more influential is Elinor Ostrom’s theory of common-pool resources. While used very widely, the underlying principles of Ostrom’s approach make pronounced implicit assumptions about the role of data and evidence in common-pool resource systems. Examining the case of water allocations in Quito, Ecuador,a set of concrete criteriaare developed to inform the ways in which Ostrom’s principles can be applied in a data-scarce, institutionally complex, polycentric context.

   Extreme Rainfall and Flooding over Central Kenya Including Nairobi City during the Long-Rains Season 2018: Causes, Predictability, and Potential for Early Warning and Actions

Mary Kilavi, Dave MacLeod, Maurine Ambani, Joanne Robbins, Rutger Dankers, Richard Graham, Helen Titley, Abubakr A. M. Salih and Martin C. Todd

The Long-Rains wet season of March–May (MAM) over Kenya in 2018 was one of the wettest on record. The exceptionally high monthly rainfall totals in March and April resulted from several multi-day heavy rainfall episodes, rather than from distinct extreme daily events. Three intra-seasonal rainfall events in particular resulted in extensive flooding with the loss of lives and livelihoods, a significant displacement of people, major disruption to essential services, and damage to infrastructure. This paper examines the nature, causes, impacts, and predictability of the rainfall events, and considers the implications for flood risk management.

   Monitoring crop phenology using a smartphone based near-surface remote sensing approach

Koen Hufkens, Eli K.Melaas, Michael L. Mann, Timothy Foster, Francisco Ceballos, Miguel Robles, BerberKramer

Smallholder farmers play a critical role in supporting food security in developing countries. Monitoring crop life cycle (phenology) and disturbances to crop growth is critical in strengthening farmers’ ability to manage production risks. This study assesses the feasibility of using crowdsourced near-surface remote sensing imagery to monitor winter wheat phenology and identify damage events in northwest India. In particular, the paper demonstrates how streams of pictures of individual smallholder fields, taken using inexpensive smartphones, can be used to quantify important phenological stages in agricultural crops.

   Exploring temporality in socio-ecological resilience through experiences of the 2015-16 El Niño across the Tropics

Stephen Whitfield, Emilie Beauchamp, Doreen S. Boyd, David Burslem, Anja Byg, Francis Colledge, Mark E.J. Cutler, Mengistu Didena, Andrew Dougill, Giles Foody, Jasmin A. Godbold, Mirjam Hazenbosch, Mark Hirons, Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Eleanor Jew, Carmen Lacambra, David Mkwambisi, Awdenegest Moges, Alexandra Morel, Rebecca Morris, Paula Novo, Mario Rueda, Harriet Smith, Martin Solan, Thomas Spencer, Ann Thornton, Julia Touza, Piran C.L. White

In this paper, the dynamics of six diverse socio-ecological systems (SES) across the Tropics – ranging from agricultural and horticultural systems in Africa and Oceania to managed forests in South East Asia and coastal systems in South America – are examined in relation to the 2015–16 El Niño, and the longer context of climatic variability in which this short-term ‘event’ occurred.

   Sentinel-1 SAR Amplitude Imagery for Rapid Landslide Detection

Mondini, A.C.; Santangelo, M.; Rocchetti, M.; Rossetto, E.; Manconi, A.; Monserrat, O.

When landslides occur in remote areas or where the availability of optical images is rare due to cloud persistence, they might remain unknown, or unnoticed for long time, preventing studies and hampering civil protection operations. The unprecedented availability of SAR C-band images provided by the Sentinel-1 two-satellite constellation offers the opportunity to propose new solutions to detect landslides events. In this work, we perform a systematic assessment of Sentinel-1 SAR C-band images acquired before and after known events. We present the results of a pilot study on 32 worldwide cases of rapid landslides entailing different types, sizes, slope expositions, as well as pre-existing land cover, triggering factors and climatic regimes.

   The El Niño event of 2015–2016: climate anomalies and their impact on groundwater resources in East and Southern Africa

Seshagiri Rao Kolusu, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Martin C. Todd, Richard G. Taylor, David Seddon, Japhet J. Kashaigili, Girma Y. Ebrahim, Mark O. Cuthbert, James P. R. Sorensen, Karen G. Villholth, Alan M. MacDonald, and Dave A. MacLeod

Groundwater is the dominant source of safe water for rural populations and many expanding cities in East Africa, south of the Equator (EASE) and Southern Africa (SA). The impact of climate variability on groundwater storage has received limited attention despite widespread dependence on groundwater as a resource for drinking water, agriculture and industry. This paper assesses the climate anomalies that occurred over SA and EASE, during the major El Niño event of 2015–2016, and their associated impacts on groundwater storage.

   Improving water resources management using participatory monitoring in a remote mountainous region of Nepal

Madhab Uprety, Boris F. Ochoa-Tocachi, Jonathan D. Paul, Santosh Regmi, Wouter Buytaert

The Nepal Himalayas are a major reservoir of freshwater; yet the impediments to its exploitation by local inhabitants are manifold, including weak governance structures, steep and irregular terrain, and frequent natural hazards that are linked to climate change. This paper examines catchment hydrology and local flow variability, before demonstrating the ways in which sustainable water resource management (WRM) can be achieved regionally.

   Research roadmap - Forecast-based Financing

This Roadmap identifies critical research questions to support practitioners and scientists to develop sustainable, effective, and people-centred forecast-based financing systems at scale.

   Seasonal forecasts for early action

This snapshot summarieses the key findings of seasonal forecast research conducted by SHEAR's FATHUM and ForPAc projects.

   What is the most useful approach for forecasting hydrological extremes during El Niño?

Emerton, R. E., Stephens, E. M. and Cloke, H. L.

This study uses river flow observations to assess and compare the ability of two recently-developed forecasts to predict high and low river flow during El Niño: statistical historical probabilities of ENSO-driven hydrological extremes, and the dynamical seasonal river flow outlook of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS-seasonal). Our findings highlight regions of the globe where each forecast is (or is not) skilful compared to a forecast of climatology, and the advantages and disadvantages of each forecasting approach.

   A practical guide to seasonal forecasts

SHEAR, BRACED, WISER, Climate Centre, Practical Action, UK Met, Oxford University, Reading University and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

This is a series of short, practical guidance documents with advice on how to interpret and use seasonal forecasts. Seasonal forecasts are a popular forecast product with the added attractiveness of long lead times. However, they are not a panacea, and these guidance documents share the circumstances under which they can be useful for decision-making.

   Context-Based Knowledge Discovery and Querying for Social Media Data

Phengsuwan, J., Balan Thekkummal, N., Shah, T., James, P., Thakker, D., Sun, R., Pullarkatt, D., Hemalatha, T., Vinodini Ramesh, M. and Ranjan, R.,

Modern Early Warning Systems (EWS) rely on scientific methods to analyse a variety of Earth Observation and ancillary data for the prediction and monitoring of hazard events. Through social media, the general public can also contribute to the monitoring by reporting warning signs related to hazardous events. However, thewarning signs reported by people require additional processing to verify the possibility of the occurrence of hazards. Such processing requires potential data sources tobe discovered and accessed. However, the complexity andhigh variety of these data sources makes this particularlychallenging. Moreover, sophisticated domain knowledge ofnatural hazards and risk management are also required toenable dynamic and timely decision making about serioushazards. This paper proposes a data integration and analytics system which allows social media users to contribute to hazard monitoring and supports decision making for its prediction.

   Diagnosing subseasonal to seasonal predictability of the East African long rains. ECMWF Special Report.

MacLeod, D. and Palmer, T.

This report summarises the findings of a special project which used climate model experiments to explore and understand the predictability characteristics of the two East African rainfall seasons as well as forecast performance on subseasonal to seasonal timescales.

   Operationalizing polycentricity for landscape resilience

Liu Wei

Rapid socio-economic, environmental, and policy changes and increasing uncertainties mean that resilience has become a main objective of landscape planning, design, and management. Appropriate governance forms, which are able to be responsive and adaptive to external shocks and stressors, are needed for resilience. One such form is polycentricity, which has been proven to enhance resilience. This paper analyses a variety of cases and demonstrates how polycentricity can affect governance outcomes.

   Seasonal forecasts of the East African long rains: insight from atmospheric relaxation experiments

David MacLeod

The ‘long’ rains (generally March to May) are a critical period in semi-arid East Africa, where a significant part of the population relies on rain-fed agriculture. Much of the region experiences a bi-modal rainfall climate, with most rain falling during the long rains and slightly less falling in the short rains (generally October to December). Although the long rains show less inter-annual variability than the short rains, there have still been significant extreme seasons in recent memory. This paper presents the findings of data analysis to improve understanding of the factors which affect inter-annual variability to help improve seasonal forecasts.

   The use of social media in natural hazard Early Warning Systems

Emma Bee, British Geological Survey; Mirianna Budimir, Practical Action

This short paper describes some of the ways social media has been used in the context of natural hazard early warning to aid decision making and enable people to communicate and access information.

   Accuracy assessment of the TanDEM-X 90 Digital Elevation Model for selected floodplain sites

Laurence Hawker, Jeffrey Neal, Paul Bates

Digital elevation models (DEMs) are three dimensional, computer generated representations of a terrain’s surface. They are essential for many scientific and humanitarian applications, as they improve the understanding of hazard risk, and are used, for example to support flood risk management. TanDEM-X 90 is a new DEM with a global coverage and very fine level of detail. This paper assesses the accuracy of this new model and its potential to be the benchmark global DEM for floodplains.

   Climate variability alters flood timing across Africa

Ficchì, A., and Stephens, L.

Patterns of climate variability such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation or the Indian Ocean Dipole affect the timing of the start of the rainy season, but little is known about how this translates into changes in the timing of the annual flood in rivers. In eastern and southern Africa, in particular, the differences in flood timing can be more than three months. This information could help farmers in African floodplains to adapt their water management, planting, and cropping practices to these patterns of climate variability. In this paper, computer model reconstructions and observed records of river flows in Africa to are used to understand how these patterns of climate variability are changing the timing of river floods.

   Deriving optimal weather pattern definitions for the representation of precipitation variability over India

Neal, R., Robbins, J., Dankers, R., Mitra, A., Jayakumar, A., Rajagopal, E.N. and Adamson, G.

This paper presents the findings of a study which uses cluster analysis to produce sets of weather patterns for the Indian subcontinent. Several weather pattern variants are evident within the active monsoon, break monsoon and retreating monsoon periods, meaning that the periods most susceptible to high-impact weather can be identified, such as the most flood prone periods within the active monsoon.

   Earthquakes and Landslides in Nepal

SHEAR Knowledge Broker

This snapshot outlines some of the key findings from SHEAR research to improve the understanding of the causes and impacts of the earthquake which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, and the subsequent aftershocks and landslides in support of decision making for disaster risk management and reduction.

   Landslide-EVO Factsheet

SHEAR Knowledge Broker

This factsheet outlines key information about the Landslide-EVO project, which brings together experts in environmental hazards, engineering, social science, citizen science, and computational modelling to improve disaster resilience in Western Nepal.

   LANDSLIP Factsheet

SHEAR Knowledge Broker

This factsheet outlines key information about LANDSLIP, a 'research-into-action' project seeking to develop a prototype regional rainfall-induced landslide Early Warning System in two Indian pilot case study areas.

   A full-scale fluvial flood modelling framework based on a high-performance integrated hydrodynamic modelling system (HiPIMS)

Xilin Xia, Qiuhua Liang, Xiaodong Ming

This paper aims to develop and demonstrate a modelling framework to predict the full-scale process of fluvial flooding from the source (rainfall) to impact (inundation) over a large catchment using a single high-performance hydrodynamic model driven by rainfall inputs. This work provides a novel and promising approach to assess and forecast at real time the risk of extreme fluvial floods from intense rainfall.

   Getting Ahead of Crises: A Thesaurus for Anticipatory Humanitarian Action

Sara de Wit

The recent shift in humanitarianism from thinking in terms of response to anticipatory action has not only great intuitive appeal but there is also growing consensus on the value of acting early in terms of both cost-effectiveness and efficiency. As a new way of thinking and acting, this innovative approach comes with a new parlance and vocabulary. This thesaurus is intended to enable reflection on the similarities and differences in the way organizations use language associated with the concept of anticipatory humanitarian action.

   SHEAR Annual Meeting Report

Knowledge Broker

The 2020 virtual annual meeting of the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience programme examined our progress in achieving greater and more effective investment in disaster resilience, preparedness, response and recovery, leading to reduced impacts from natural hazard-related disasters. Over the course of two days, we explored what SHEAR projects have achieved in forecasting science, data and tools, and what these improvements mean for resilience through strengthened early warning and early action in national policies, systems and practices.

   Visualisation of Early Warning Information

Mirianna Budimir and Anna Twomlow

Visual presentation of early warning information can support users to better understand the information and make an informed decision about what actions to take. This document sets out principles to guide development of visual information to support effective early warning.

   Influence of ENSO and tropical Atlantic climate variability on flood characteristics in the Amazon basin

Towner, J., Ficchi, A., Cloke, H. L., Bazo, J., Coughlan de Perez, E. and Stephens, E. M.

Flooding in the Amazon basin is frequently attributed to modes of large-scale climate variability, but little attention is paid to how these modes influence the timing and duration of floods despite their importance to early warning systems and the significant impacts that these flood characteristics can have on communities. In this study, river discharge data from the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS 2.1) and observed data at 58 gauging stations are used to examine whether 20 positive/negative phases of several Pacific and Atlantic indices significantly alter the characteristics of river flows throughout the Amazon basin (1979-2015). Results show significant changes in both flood magnitude and duration, particularly in the north-eastern Amazon for negative ENSO years when the SST anomaly is positioned in the central tropical Pacific. These results have important implications for both the social and physical sectors working towards the improvement of early warning action systems for floods.

   Key factors influencing the severity of fluvial flood hazard from tropical cyclones + Tools

Titley, H. A., Cloke, H. L., Harrigan, S., Pappenberger, F., Prudhomme, C., Robbins, J. C., Stephens, E. M. and Zsoter, E.

Knowledge of the key drivers of the severity of river flooding from tropical cyclones (TCs) is vital for emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction activities. This global study examines landfalling TCs in the decade from 2010 to 2019 to identify those characteristics that influence whether a storm has an increased flood hazard. The highest positive correlations are found between flood severity and the total precipitation associated with the TC. Significant negative correlations are found between flood severity and the translation speed of the TC, indicating that slower-moving storms that rain over an area for longer tend to have higher flood severity. The improved knowledge of the key drivers of fluvial flooding in TCs can help to inform research priorities to help with flood early warning, such as increasing the focus on translation speed in model evaluation and impact-based forecasting.

   A guide to Effective Collaboration and Learning in Consortia: Building resilience to rising climate risks

Bettina Koelle, Lucia Scodanibbio, Katharine Vincent, Blane Harvey, Maarten van Aalst, Sophie Rigg, Nicola Ward, Margot Cur

Working in the complex context of climate change adaptation and resilience, individuals and organisations are often required to work together in consortia across disciplinary, institutional, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Working in large consortia offers great opportunities for addressing complex problems. It enables those with a wide variety of technical skills and other capacities to come together and devise more integrated responses. However, diversity of backgrounds and approaches to issues means that joint identification of challenges and solutions can be complex. This guide shares some examples and lessons learnt from a range of consortia operating across different programmes.

   Thinking impact before instruments in humanitarian disaster risk financing

Clare Harris and Catalina Jaime

The Impact Before Instruments series of technical discussion papers has been produced through a partnership of the Start Network, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The series responds to the increasing interest in the use of disaster risk financing (DRF) systems and instruments by humanitarian actors. DRF, as originally conceived, aimed to strengthen the financial resilience of governments to respond to disasters. In recent years, donors, humanitarian actors and others have begun to explore the use of DRF approaches for earlier and more predictable humanitarian response. This series reflects on and discusses, what we, as a community of practice need to consider in order to make DRF work in the humanitarian context.

   What can go wrong with forecast-based financing?

Climate Centre

The goal of Forecast-based Financing is to reduce the impact of disasters. In the precious window of time between a forecast and a potential disaster, FbF releases resources to take early action. With the promise of increased effectiveness, the concept of FbF is rapidly gaining traction in the humanitarian and development sectors. FbF doesn’t inherently have a higher chance of “going wrong” than much of our other work. But because it is new, people might not realize potential pitfalls. Here we outline several ways in which FbF can go wrong – some are inevitable, and some can be avoided.

   Anticipatory Action for Droughts

Dorothy Heinrich and Meghan Bailey

As meteorological science and observations become more widespread and accurate, many hazards can now be anticipated, providing enough time for humanitarians to increase community resilience to the risk. As such, the concept of forecast-based action and financing (FbA/FbF) was developed by the Red Cross Red Crescent and partners with this precise goal. This new paradigm allows national societies to access funds in anticipation of hazards through a peer-reviewed early action protocol (EAP). As yet, eight EAPs have been approved to anticipate cyclones, floods, cold-waves, extreme winter conditions, and volcanic ash (see IFRC FbA by the DREF). To date, there are no finalised EAPs for drought but a number of RCRC National Societies have started the development process. This report presents a knowledge synthesis on which to ground initial discussions and development of FbA for drought within the Red Cross Red Crescent.

   Linking Social Protection and Forecast Based Action: A Summary of Lessons and Knowledge Gaps from SHEAR

Sayanti Sengupta and Cecilia Costella

There has been a growing interest in exploring the scope for linking forecast-based action (FbA) and social protection (SP). In this forward looking brief, we have explored the potential questions and areas of exploration that require further research in order to understand the feasibility of integrating FbA and SP.

   SHEAR Impact Stories

SHEAR Knowledge Broker

Between the coronavirus pandemic and a particularly severe natural hazard calendar, the importance of translating science into practice in order to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to disasters, is made ever more clear. Different applications of science to the humanitarian sector are being advanced and promoted by SHEAR researchers around the world who are developing tools, publications, and relationships to enable practitioners and communities toward resilience. In this reporting period, this work has been particularly effective. In this short document are summarized a few of these stories of impact - with many more to come.

   The Future of Forecasts: Impact Based Forecasting for Early Action

ARRCC, Climate Centre, Met Office, Anticipation Hub, Risk Informed Early Action Partnership

This guide outlines the steps and tools needed to develop impact-based forecasting:from understanding risk to producing, issuing and verifying fit for purpose impactbased forecasts and warnings. Designed with, and for, people working in impactbased forecasting, early warning and early action, the compiled information and recommendations will be useful for everyone from technical staff in national hydrological and meteorological services to disaster risk management, humanitarian and development agencies.