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The Role and Responsibilities of Geoscientists for Warning and Mitigation of Natural Disasters
Conveners: S. Tinti , C. Krawczyk 
Thu, 26 Apr, 12:15–13:15  / Room 15

Geoscientists are specialists that deliver their research results to different authorities and levels in the society in order to inform about the current status of knowledge on geoprocesses and the possibilities to use this knowledge. This is of growing interest, and with respect to natural hazards especially for large events like earthquakes or floods.
Thereby, scientists and recipients of the information are faced with a variety of responsibilities. These concern amongst others (1) the basic science (development of accurate physics-based or statistical methodologies to forecast a phenomenon and probabilities), (2) the dissemination of scientific results to the public (websites, webportals, scientific documentation, outreach activities, etc.), and (3) the awareness of policy and decision makers in receiving this information (and translating it with appropriate tools to a better preparedness of the society).

Some of the questions to answer are:
Are geoscientists able to predict “precisely” when and where the next natural disaster will occur and how big will it be? And if not, what is their role in the prevention and mitigation of disasters? And if, on the other hand, predictions made by geoscientists are “not precise” what is their usefulness for the society? What are the uncertainties involved in the prediction? How do the geoscientists understand, handle, quantify these uncertainties, and how are they communicated and understood by the society?

The aim of this debate is to bring together specialists from different disciplines and policy makers to discuss with the audience the problems and key issues of liability and responsibility arising by the release of authoritative information.

The panelists are:
Massimo Cocco (INGV, Italy), seismologist; Bruno Merz (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany), expert in river floods; Peter Billing (European Commission), responsible of the European Civil Protection system; Gero Michel (Willis RE, UK) from the insurance world.