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Handling uncertainty in models of seismic and postseismic hazards: toward robust methods and resilient societies

MacGillivray, Brian H. ORCID: 2021. Handling uncertainty in models of seismic and postseismic hazards: toward robust methods and resilient societies. Risk Analysis 41 (9) , pp. 1499-1512. 10.1111/risa.13663

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Earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides take a devastating toll on human lives, critical infrastructure, and ecosystems. Harnessing the predictive capacities of hazard models is key to transitioning from reactive approaches to disaster management toward building resilient societies, yet the knowledge that these models produce involves multiple uncertainties. The failure to properly account for these uncertainties has at times had important implications, from the flawed safety measures at the Fukushima power plant, to the reliance on short‐term earthquake prediction models (reportedly at the expense of mitigation efforts) in modern China. This article provides an overview of methods for handling uncertainty in probabilistic seismic hazard assessment, tsunami hazard analysis, and debris flow modeling, considering best practices and areas for improvement. It covers sensitivity analysis, structured approaches to expert elicitation, methods for characterizing structural uncertainty (e.g., ensembles and logic trees), and the value of formal decision‐analytic frameworks even in situations of deep uncertainty.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0272-4332
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 11 November 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 07:10

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