Objectives and Scope
Over the last fifty years increasing damages from natural hazards are reported at the global scale (e.g. Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks
and the reinsurance company Munich Re AG
). According to the 2003 United Nations World Water Development Report (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme. 2003), between 1991 and 2000 over 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters – 90% of which were water-related and 97% of the victims were from developing countries
. The recorded annual economic losses associated with these disasters have grown from US$30 billion in 1990 to US$70 billion in 1999.
The reasons for that increase in damages and fatalities are manifold. First, due to climate induced changes the frequency and intensity of natural hazards may have increased and second, due to direct human interventions and modifications of the flow paths of water the exposure to hazards has been magnified. Large areas suffer from deforestation and erosion leading to faster runoff formation and extended low flow periods. As a consequence, the exposure of the population living in low land areas to natural hazards, such as floods has dramatically increased in the last decades.
The conference has three objectives:
(1) To present models for describing hazardous processes and their impacts with a high spatio-temporal resolution. This would provide the basis for predictive tools and early warning systems in different environmental settings.
(2) To describe methods to discriminate among impacts originating from climate change and impacts caused by direct human interventions, such as deforestation, overexploitation of groundwater resources, land development, water abstraction from rivers and urbanization.
(3) to bring together experts from different disciplines such as geomorphologists, meteorologists, hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, forest managers, water resources engineers, regional and landscape planners, as well as experts from governmental institutions and from the insurance sector, to exchange experiences about the adaptation and mitigation of adverse effects.
To ensure that there is an intensive exchange among scientists from different disciplines each session will include presentations from different areas and ample time will be provided for discussion.