Research briefs

Volcanic ash can damage jet engines but the chemical composition of the ash, which varies depending on its source, plays a crucial role in determining how much damage it can cause. Volcanologists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München have developed a new risk assessment model.
Forests nationwide are feeling the heat from increasing drought and climate change, according to a new study by scientists from 14 research institutions. 'Over the last two decades, warming temperatures and variable precipitation have increased the severity of forest droughts across much of the continental United States,' said James S. Clark, lead author of the study...
The Flood Re insurance scheme will fail to reduce flood risk and the number of London households eligible for the scheme could increase by up to 75% during its lifespan, according to a paper published today by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the London School of Economics and Political Science...
Recovering from a traumatic event for some can mean finding a new appreciation of life – for others it is a slow process fraught with negativity. 'Having more close emotional ties is generally related to better mental health and personal wellbeing several years after a disaster. Involvement in local community groups and organisations is also associated with more positive outcomes,' says Associate Professor Gibbs, from the Centre of Health Equity, one of the chief investigators on the Beyond Bushfires project..,
Homes were destroyed last month in bushfires near Lancefield, Victoria, lives have been lost as fires continue to sweep through southern Western Australia. Alongside the devastating loss of life and properties, many properties potentially in the path of bushfires are inadequately insured...
Scientists have warned that the south-western coast of Taiwan is a potential tsunami zone. Professor Adam Switzer of Nanyang Technological University's Earth Observatory of Singapore warns that a similar event is likely to happen again, but the destruction caused will be much worse. 'It would endanger millions of lives and damage infrastructure located at the south of Taiwan'...
When it comes to victim compensation, Feldman and Fish write, 'transnational regulatory regimes for compensating victims of natural disasters are largely non-existent.' Individuals are usually not compensated for personal injuries or property losses. Many private insurance policies exclude types of disaster risk, and many individual underestimate the risk of natural disasters and tend to underinsure....
'Disasters touch the lives of millions of children every year, and children are especially vulnerable to their aftereffects,' said USC Professor David Schonfeld, lead author of the clinical report. 'As pediatricians, we are in an excellent position to detect and address a breadth of problems following a disaster, and to counsel families and communities on how to be prepared'...
New computer models that estimate the social and economic impacts of flooding help to protect communities from devastating floods and to reduce the economic losses associated with them. A new study published in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by JRC scientists, reviews how global flood risk models are being used in practice to reduce flood impacts around the world...
'The aim of our research was to understand people’s risk perception and risk behaviour,' says Lydia Pedoth, a researcher at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) who led the study. 'We also examined the role of local knowledge, community identity and social networks, and the relationship between the community and the risk management authorities.'...