News from the CRC

New online - February 2017

New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.

From the Decision support system study is a report that looks to develop an integrated spatial decision support system for Adelaide to model long term changes in risk and subsequently assist decision makers plan and implement disaster risk reduction policies and investments. 'Futures Greater Adelaide 2050: An exploration of disaster risk and the future' looked to discover critical elements relevant to disaster risk reduction and consider how they change into the future. As a method for exploring the future, scenarios were developed considering the changes from 2013 to 2050. Five alternate futures for Greater Adelaide were developed by members of SA’s State Mitigation Advisory Group (SMAG), assisted by the research team. These were subsequently modelled and results of the qualitative and quantitative scenarios are presented in this report. In September 2014 the first stage of this process was completed with results documented in Van Delden et al. (2015). The second phase, of which this report documents, incorporated the development of exploratory scenarios to better understand relevant uncertainties, develop strategic capacity in decision makers to consider uncertainties impacting on policies and provide a better understanding of the value and use of the developed DSS.

Despite its low seismic activity, Australia is more vulnerable to earthquakes than one would expect due to the concentration of population and the large stock of buildings which are structurally unable to withstand even moderate seismic shaking. An earthquake scenario for Melbourne has been developed by the Using realistic scenario analysis to understand natural hazard impacts and and emergency management requirements project. Following on from an earthquake scenario for Adelaide presented at our Adelaide conference in 2015, this report looks at a series of realistic disaster earthquake scenarios for Melbourne.

Using the relationship between tree size and tree water use, and leaf area index and forest water use, the Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes project has investigated the impact of fuel reduction burning on water availabilityLeaf area index is an important input for estimating evapotranspiration and measurement techniques such as digital photography can potentially be used by land managers as a means of rapidly quantifying the impact of fuel reduction burning on water balance at both the plot- and catchment-scale. Results will enable land managers to identify hydrologically sensitive areas in accordance with their management objectives.

Two papers have been published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. The Managing animals in disasters study has a paper on developing a scale to understand willingness to sacrifice personal safety for companion animals. The study presents the construction, through principal components analysis, of a stable 24-item multidimensional scale measuring the potential intensity and perceived efficacy of pet-directed actions during disasters: the Pet-Owner Risk Propensity Scale. Preliminary findings support its validity, reliability, and utility in understanding companion-animal owners’ risk-taking propensity, which may help predict and avoid harmful outcomes for people and their animals during disasters.

In the same edition of International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction is a paper on the concept of denial of natural hazard risk and its use in relation to householder wildfire safety in Australia. The paper concludes that the concept of denial of risk has been used so inconsistently as to be meaningless without an explanation of the intended sense of the term. Finding from reports of post-event interviews with residents threatened by severe Australian bushfires are discussed, and from a survey of agency community safety senior managers. The reports indicated that small percentages of residents in high-risk communities could be described as perhaps being in denial. The survey found that none of the bushfire agencies employed the concept formally. It is suggested that it may be more useful to view most householders' failures to mitigate their bushfire risk as resulting from potential threats being entwined with more immediate higher priority competing demands of everyday life.

The Fire spread prediction across fuel types study has had a paper published in the Journal of Fluid Dynamics, looking at turbulent flow over transitionally rough surfaces with varying roughness densities.

More news from the CRC

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Prof Vivienne Tippett OAM
CRC researcher Professor Vivienne Tippett has been recognised for her efforts and contributions to science with a Queen’s Birthday Medal of the Order of Australia.
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CRC research on how to best plan for animals in an emergency has taken out the inaugural Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) research award, while another project on emergency warnings has been highly commended.
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