Impact Forecasting to Support Emergency Management of Natural Hazards


Forecasting and early warning systems are important investments to protect lives, properties, and livelihood. While early warning systems are frequently used to predict the magnitude, location, and timing of potentially damaging events, these systems rarely provide impact estimates, such as the expected amount and distribution of physical damage, human consequences, disruption of services, or financial loss. Complementing early warning systems with impact forecasts has a twofold advantage: It would provide decision makers with richer information to take informed decisions about emergency measures and focus the attention of different disciplines on a common target. This would allow capitalizing on synergies between different disciplines and boosting the development of multihazard early warning systems. This review discusses the state of the art in impact forecasting for a wide range of natural hazards. We outline the added value of impact‐based warnings compared to hazard forecasting for the emergency phase, indicate challenges and pitfalls, and synthesize the review results across hazard types most relevant for Europe.
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