Latest Publications

Data-Driven Business Models: Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data
Sep 30, 2014 | read more ›

Next Generation Research and Innovation Networks
Sep 30, 2014 | read more ›

Upper tail dependence in rainfall extremes: would we know it if we saw it?
Sep 11, 2014 | read more ›


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Publications

The WRN produces academic publications, industry reports and presentations. Some of the outputs are accessible below and also classified and integrated into the Research and Impact sections. For further information on publications please contact the research programme leaders or authors.

Next Generation Research and Innovation Networks

Date: Oct 20, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: The LEGO Foundation
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Core Technologies & Methods
Hub: Technologies and Platforms

Author(s): The LEGO Foundation

Summary: REPORT: To inspire a network on learning through play This case report inspires us to think about a new space for supporting a community of engaged actors who are passionate about children, learning and creativity, and who believe that educational systems are pivotal to making real and sustainable changes

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Data-Driven Business Models: Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data

Date: Sep 30, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Oxford Internet Institute
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Core Technologies & Methods
Hub: Technologies and Platforms

Author(s): Monica Bulger, Greg Taylor, Ralph Schroeder

Summary: This report draws on interviews with 28 business leaders and stakeholder representatives from the UK and US in order to answer the following questions: • How is (big) data being used; what is a ‘big data business model’? • What are the main obstacles to exploitation of big data in the economy? • What can and should be done to mitigate these challenges and ensure that the opportunities provided by big data are realised?

Upper tail dependence in rainfall extremes: would we know it if we saw it?

Date: Sep 11, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood

Author(s): Francesco Serinaldi, András Bárdossy, Chris G. Kilsby

Field(s): Upper tail dependence Extreme events Binary correlation Binary entropy Rainfall Peak over threshold analysis Collective spatial risk

Summary: The simultaneous occurrence of extreme events, such as simultaneous storms and floods at different locations, has a serious impact on risk assessment and mitigation strategies. The joint occurrence of extreme events can be measured by the so-called upper tail dependence (UTD) coefficient λ U.

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Dismissing return periods!

Date: Sep 07, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Francesco Serinaldi

Field(s): Return period Nonstationary frequency analysis Multivariate frequency analysis Copulas Risk of failure Design values Design life

Summary: The concept of return period in stationary univariate frequency analysis is prone to misconceptions and misuses that are well known but still widespread...

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Groundwater fluxes in a shallow seasonal wetland pond: The effect of bathymetric uncertainty on predicted water and solute balances

Date: Jul 22, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Journal of Hydrology
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Mark A. Trigg, Peter G. Cook, Philip Brunner

Summary: The successful management of groundwater dependent shallow seasonal wetlands requires a sound understanding of groundwater fluxes. However, such fluxes are hard to quantify. Water volume and solute mass balance models can be used in order to derive an estimate of groundwater fluxes within such systems. This approach is particularly attractive, as it can be undertaken using measurable environmental variables, such as; rainfall, evaporation, pond level and salinity. Groundwater fluxes estimated from such an approach are subject to uncertainty in the measured variables as well as in the process representation and in parameters within the model. However, the shallow nature of seasonal wetland ponds means water volume and surface area can change rapidly and non-linearly with depth, requiring an accurate representation of the wetland pond bathymetry. Unfortunately, detailed bathymetry is rarely available and simplifying assumptions regarding the bathymetry have to be made. However, the implications of these assumptions are typically not quantified.

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Forecast cooling of the Atlantic subpolar gyre and associated impacts

Date: Jul 09, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Earth Observation & Remote Sensing

Author(s): Hermanson et al.

Field(s): Climate dynamics, Impacts of global change

Summary: Decadal variability in the North Atlantic and its subpolar gyre (SPG) has been shown to be predictable in climate models initialized with the concurrent ocean state. Numerous impacts over ocean and land have also been identified.

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Integrating Natural Disaster Risks & Resilience into the Financial System

Date: Jun 24, 2014
Type: Article
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Rowan Douglas

Field(s): Willis Research Network

Summary: Integrating disaster risk and resilience into the financial system provides the structural and proportionate means of saving millions of lives and livelihoods in the coming decades and protecting US$ billions in homes, assets and property in a cost effective and rational way when weighed against competing priorities.

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The impact of uncertain precipitation data on insurance loss estimates using a flood catastrophe model

Date: Jun 23, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: NatureHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): C. C. Sampson, T. J. Fewtrell, F. O’Loughlin, F. Pappenberger, P. B. Bates, J. E. Freer, and H. L. Cloke

Field(s): Climate Change, Atmospheric science

Summary: Catastrophe risk models used by the insurance industry are likely subject to significant uncertainty, but due to their proprietary nature and strict licensing conditions they are not available for experimentation. In addition, even if such experiments were conducted, these would not be repeatable by other researchers because commercial confidentiality issues prevent the details of proprietary catastrophe model structures from being described in public domain documents. However, such experimentation is urgently required to improve decision making in both insurance and reinsurance markets.

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A new physically based stochastic event catalog for hail in Europe

Date: May 20, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Natural Hazards.
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Tornado & Hail
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): H. J. Punge • K. M. Bedka • M. Kunz • A. Werner

Field(s): Hail ! Climatology ! Overshooting top ! Europe

Summary: Hailstorms represent one of the major sources of damage and insurance loss to residential, commercial, and agricultural assets in several parts of Central Europe. However, there is little knowledge of hail risk across Europe beyond local historical damage reports due to the relative rarity of severe hail events and the lack of uniform detection methods. Here we present a new stochastic catalog of hailstorms for Europe.

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The poleward migration of the location of tropical cyclone maximum intensity

Date: May 15, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Nature
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Tornado & Hail

Author(s): James P. Kossin, Kerry A. Emanuel, & Gabriel A. Vecchi

Field(s): Climate Change, Atmospheric science

Summary: Attempts to monitor changes in tropical cyclone activity have been hampered by inconsistencies in global data sets, such as measures of frequency, storm duration and intensity. Jim Kossin and colleagues by-pass this long-standing problem by instead focusing on the latitude at which tropical cyclones reached their lifetime maximum intensity, a far more robust measurement. They find that during the past 30 years the position of peak intensity has migrated steadily poleward, at a rate of about 60 km per decade. This shift appears to be associated with changes in vertical wind shear and potential intensity, which the authors suggest may be associated with recent increases in the width of the tropical belt associated with global warming.

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The Impact on Workers' Compensation Insurance Markets of Allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Expire

Date: May 07, 2014
Type: Paper
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Man-made & Political Risks

Author(s): Michael Dworsky, Lloyd Dixon

Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law provides a government reinsurance backstop in the case of a terrorist attack by providing mechanisms for avoiding an immediate drawdown of capital for insured losses or possibly covering the most extreme losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again reconsidering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.

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Development of the Global Width Database for Large Rivers

Date: Apr 28, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Water Resources Research
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Dai Yamazaki, Fiachra O’Loughlin, Mark A. Trigg, Zachary F. Miller, Tamlin M. Pavelsky, and Paul D. Bates

Summary: River width is a fundamental parameter of river hydrodynamic simulations, but no global-scale river width database based on observed water bodies has yet been developed. Here we present a new algorithm that automatically calculates river width from satellite-based water masks and flow direction maps.

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Skillful long-range prediction of European and North American winters

Date: Apr 16, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Earth Observation & Remote Sensing

Author(s): Scaife et al.

Field(s): Climate dynamics, Climate variability, Coupled models of the climate system, Global climate models

Summary: Until recently, long-range forecast systems showed only modest levels of skill in predicting surface winter climate around the Atlantic Basin and associated fluctuations in the North Atlantic Oscillation at seasonal lead times. Here we use a new forecast system to assess seasonal predictability of winter North Atlantic climate

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The Impact on Federal Spending of Allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to Expire

Date: Apr 11, 2014
Type: Paper
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Man-made & Political Risks

Author(s): Tom LaTourrette, Noreen Clancy

Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law creates an incentive for a functioning private terrorism insurance market by providing a government reinsurance backstop for catastrophic terrorist attack losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.

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Technology: Fight floods on a global scale

Date: Mar 13, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Nature
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood

Author(s): Guy J.-P. Schumann, Paul D. Bates, Jeffrey C. Neal & Konstantinos M. Andreadis

Summary: Bristol and NASA issue call for international co-operation on global-scale flood model

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National Security Perspectives on Terrorism Risk Insurance in the United States

Date: Mar 06, 2014
Type: Paper
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Man-made & Political Risks

Author(s): Henry H. Willis, Omar Al-Shahery

Field(s): Community Resilience, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Of 2002, Terrorism Risk Management, United State

Summary: Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in 2002, in response to terrorism insurance becoming unavailable or, when offered, extremely costly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The law provides a government reinsurance backstop in the case of a terrorist attack by providing mechanisms for avoiding an immediate drawdown of capital for insured losses or possibly covering the most extreme losses. Extended first in 2005 and again in 2007, TRIA is set to expire at the end of 2014, and Congress is again reconsidering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets. This policy brief examines the potential national security implications of allowing TRIA to expire. Examining the history of terrorism in the United States since the passage of TRIA and reviewing counterterrorism studies, the authors find that terrorism remains a real national security threat, but one that is very difficult for insurers to model the risk of. They also find that terrorism risk insurance can contribute to making communities more resilient to terrorism events, so, to the extent that terrorism insurance is more available with TRIA than without it, renewing the legislation would contribute to improved national security.

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Estimating seepage flux from ephemeral stream channels using surface water and groundwater level data

Date: Feb 22, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Water Resources Research
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Flood
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Saskia L. Noorduijn, Margaret Shanafield, Mark A. Trigg, Glenn A. Harrington, Peter G. Cook and L. Peeters

Summary: Seepage flux from ephemeral streams can be an important component of the water balance in arid and semiarid regions. An emerging technique for quantifying this flux involves the measurement and simulation of a flood wave as it moves along an initially dry channel.

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Social Vulnerability and Integrated Risk Project

Date: Feb 03, 2014
Type: Paper
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Earthquake
Attachment: Download File ›

Author(s): Bijan Khazai, Christopher Burton, Christopher Power and James E. Daniell

Field(s): GEM

Summary: Central to the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) is the development of state-of-the-art modeling capabilities that can be used worldwide for the assessment and communication of seismic risk. For a holistic evaluation of the consequences of earthquake impacts and loss, the Social Vulnerability and Integrated Risk Project is focusing on the development of metrics, methods, and OpenSource software tools for the assessment of seismic risk and impact potential beyond the estimation of direct physical impacts and loss of life.

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High resolution global climate modelling; the UPSCALE project, a large simulation campaign

Date: Jan 17, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Geoscientific Model Development
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Tropical Cyclones

Author(s): M. S. Mizielinski, M. J. Roberts, P. L. Vidale, R. Schiemann, M.-E. Demory, J. Strachan, et al.

Field(s): Hurricanes, Tropical cyclones, Climate change, Climate models, Coupled models

Summary: The UPSCALE (UK on PRACE: weather-resolving Simulations of Climate for globAL Environmental risk) project constructed and ran an ensemble of HadGEM3 (Hadley centre Global Environment Model 3) atmosphere-only global climate simulations over the period 1985–2011, at resolutions of N512 (25 km), N216 (60 km) and N96 (130 km) as used in current global weather forecasting, seasonal prediction and climate modelling respectively. Alongside these present climate simulations a parallel ensemble looking at extremes of future climate was run, using a time-slice methodology to consider conditions at the end of this century.

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Improved evaporative flux partitioning and carbon flux in the land surface model JULES: Impact on the simulation of land surface processes in temperate Europe

Date: Jan 17, 2014
Type: Paper
Journal: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Ext. Link: Click Here ›
Pillar: Natural Hazard & Risk
Hub: Tropical Cyclones

Author(s): Catherine Van den Hoof, Pier Luigi Vidale, Anne Verhoef, Caroline Vincke

Field(s): Eddy fluxes measurements; Europe; Evaporative flux partitioning; Land surface model; 2003 heat wave

Summary: The primary role of land surface models embedded in climate models is to partition surface available energy into upwards, radiative, sensible and latent heat fluxes. Partitioning of evapotranspiration, ET, is of fundamental importance: as a major component of the total surface latent heat flux, ET affects the simulated surface water balance, and related energy balance, and consequently the feedbacks with the atmosphere. In this context it is also crucial to credibly represent the CO2 exchange between ecosystems and their environment. In this study, JULES, the land surface model used in UK weather and climate models, has been evaluated for temperate Europe. Compared to eddy covariance flux measurements, the CO2 uptake by the ecosystem is underestimated and the ET overestimated

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About WRN

As economic, social and environmental uncertainties increase, institutions and populations seek greater resilience to support sustainable growth. Science and insurance lay at the heart of understanding, managing and sharing these risks, building more secure futures at local and global scales.

The Willis Research Network (WRN) operates across the full spectrum of risk from natural catastrophe, to legal liability, financial and security issues linked across driving themes: Resilience, Security & Sustainable Growth; Managing Extremes; Insurance & Risk Management and Mastering the Modelled World.

All Members and activities are united by a common aim: improving resilience by integrating first class science into operational and financial decision-making across public and private institutions.

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Fast Facts

  • The WRN was formed in September 2006 to support leading academic research into extreme events, with a specific focus on responding to the challenges faced by businesses, insurers and governments
  • The WRN's membership spans the globe, counting more than 50 world-class universities, scientific research organisations and public policy institutions
  • Collectively, our members have published more than 100 papers in leading scientific journals
  • Nearly all of the WRN's research is freely available to the public and can be downloaded on our website

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