Department of Earth Sciences

Disaster Risk Reduction

As a hub in the Centre for Natural Disaster Science (CNDS), Uppsala University coordinates a unique Swedish competence for studies of natural disasters and how their effects can be managed. The strength of the university builds on the combined knowledge within earth, engineering, and social sciences. Earth sciences are central to this new science area.

A natural disaster takes place when society meets a natural hazard, e.g. flood, volcanic eruption, or landslide. Modern society provides efficient means to evacuate and shelter in emergency situations but it is also becoming more vulnerable from its dependence of complex societal and technological infrastructures. Since a natural disaster is created when nature crashes with society, coordinated research efforts are needed from social, earth, and engineering sciences in order to predict, mitigate, or prevent a disaster.

Disaster-risk-reduction research at Uppsala University takes place within CNDS, a joint initiative by Uppsala University, Karlstad University and Swedish Defence University. Within Uppsala University PhD students and researchers collaborate between earth, engineering, and social sciences. The main part of the work is carried out through PhD projects coordinated by the CNDS research school. The Department of Earth Sciences has the largest group of PhD students within CNDS and the office of CNDS is also located here.

Five PhD projects (Agnes Soto, Beatriz Quesada, Diana Fuentes, Eduardo Reynolds and Tito Maldonado) within the programme for Air, Water and Landscape Science (Luval) deal with Central America, one of the regions hardest struck by natural disasters and where large damages are caused every year. The projects deal with the possibilities to understand and predict wind storms, droughts, and floods as well as how this knowledge can come to use in the emergency planning. Two PhD projects (Jean-Marc Mayotte and Viveca Norén) in Luval engage in risks for water quality and distribution following a hazard whereas one (Adam Dingwell) studies the dispersion of volcanic ash clouds. This latter is done in collaboration with David Budd, at the programme for Mineralogy, Petrology and Tectonics, who studies the magma dynamics of volcanoes, and Zeinab Jeddi, at the Geophysics programme, who studies the seismic signals from volcanoes, both with the goal to improve possibilities to predict where and when an eruption can take place.

Contact persons: Sven HalldinGiuliano Di Baldassarre