Session topics

Session 1: Impact of land degradation, drought and wildfires on ecosystem services

Climate change is very likely to increase the frequency, intensity and duration of drought and wildfires. In combination with intensifying land-use and the risk of land degradation to negatively affect ecosystem patterns and processes, the portfolio and flow of ecosystem services to society is reduced. While extreme drought and heat waves can lead to extreme wildfires, land degradation can further accelerate impacts of these climate extremes. Attributing these impacts to climate change is a current scientific challenge. Cascading hazards from droughts and wildfires further degrade ecosystems and land and thus, impair ecosystem recovery and related ecosystem services. This session aims at presenting latest research on these interactions from observational field studies, remote-sensing analyses as well as modelling exercises across scales covering single to multiple ecosystem processes and related ecosystem services under different climate and socio-economic conditions. This session focuses on 

  • land degradation caused by droughts and/or wildfires
  • impact of climate extremes on ecosystem services
  • impact of cascading hazards on ecosystem recovery

under present and future climate change.

Invited speaker:  Prof. Britta Tietjen, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany (confirmed)


Session 2: Human contributions to climate risks

Climate risks have an enormous impact on societies globally. Floods alone affected 1.65 billion people, and caused economic losses of 651 billion US$ between 2000 and 2019. These risks result from a complex interplay of climate-related hazards, exposure of people, economic assets and critical infrastructure in hazard-prone areas, and their vulnerability to these hazards. Alterations in exposure and vulnerability are often the dominant drivers of changes in climate risks.  

This session aims at presenting the latest research focusing on the human contributions to climate risks (i.e. exposure and vulnerability), the interplay of hazard, exposure and vulnerability, societal adaptation, and changes in risks. Contributions may cover: 

  • Quantification and modelling of climate impacts and risks
  • Factors determining vulnerability to climate risks 
  • Analysis of (changes in) exposure and vulnerability patterns 
  • Statistical modelling of changes in exposure and vulnerability
  • Analysis of interactions between hazard, exposure and vulnerability

Please note: Contributions specifically addressing exposure and vulnerability to seismic risks, volcanoes and tsunamis should be submitted to Session 4. 

Invited speaker: Prof.David N. Bresch, ETH Zürich, Switzerland (confirmed)

Session 3: Floods and storms

Floods and windstorms are the most hazardous and dangerous atmospheric and hydrologic natural events in many parts of the Earth. We invite contributions describing and analysing the particular conditions of floods (riverine floods; flash floods; pluvial urban floods; coastal floods) and wind storms (extratropical and tropical cyclones; tornadoes). Contributions to this session may focus on

  • Details of physical mechanisms and interactions of particular events,
  • possible changes of internal physical system dynamics, external triggering forces, or exposure and vulnerability of risk prone humans or property,
  • statistical analysis of changes in disaster severity and/or occurrence frequency.

Invited speaker: Prof. Paul H. Whitfield, Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada (confirmed)

Session 4: Causes, impact and mitigations of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes in an urban changing world

We invite contributions describing and analysing the causes, impacts and mitigations actions related to volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. In particular, we encourage contributions that develop innovative tools and concepts as well as new approaches related to the following issues:

  • Earthquakes/volcanoes/tsunamis detection, characterization or modelling (including induced or cascades events)
  • Analysis (e.g. machine learning) of new and large datasets, including open- and crowd-sourced data combined with high-resolution modelling;
  • Probabilistic hazard and risk assessment
  • Development of technological and system solutions for monitoring, operational forecast and/or integrated early warning/rapid response systems.
  • Visualisation and communication to decision-maker

Invited speaker: Dr. Helen Crowley, Eucentre, Italy (confirmed)

Session 5: Geomorphological events

Natural disasters almost always involve changes to the Earth surface. Still, the role that such geomorphic dynamics play in terms of modulating hazard, vulnerability, and risk from natural disasters remains underrepresented in research. In that sense damage is often underestimated, if not misattributed to the general causes rather than the physical processes. We solicit contributions that highlight how considering in more detail geomorphic processes and landforms can improve risk appraisals and management of natural disasters. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Strong earthquakes, heavy rainstorms, or tsunamis that induce slope instability and flooding, thus triggering entire cascades of erosion, sediment transport, and deposition.
  • Wildfires that remove protective vegetation cover and promote high rates of runoff and sediment yield.
  • Episodes of (mega-)drought that are often associated with enhanced wind erosion.

Invited speaker: Dr. Dalia Kirschbaum, Hydrological Sciences Laboratory NASA, US (confirmed)

Session 6: Analysis of complex changing systems

Identifying, quantifying and predicting transient states in natural and societal systems requires a vast set of mathematical and statistical methods. A new challenge is the investigation of compound weather and climate events caused by multiple drivers and/or hazards. The contribution of these compound events to risk and possible impacts to society is still unclear.
We are looking for contributions which carry the research on models and data describing complex systems, compound events and their impacts to society forward.

  • Complexity science and networks (e.g. complex networks)
  • Dynamic systems simulation (e.g. agent-based modeling)
  • Analysis of compound and cascading events
  • Innovative data collection or processing

Invited speaker: Dr. Jakob Zscheischler, University of Bern, Switzerland (confirmed)