Side Events
Disciplinary Sessions
Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sessions

Session programme


NH – Natural Hazards

Programme group chairs: Michel Jaboyedoff, Alberto Armigliato, Mário Pereira, Heidi Kreibich, Antonio Parodi, Antonella Peresan, Giorgio Boni, Ira Didenkulova, Paolo Tarolli, Paolo Ciavola, Robin Crockett, Paraskevi Nomikou

NH8 – Biological, Environmental & Other Hazards


Some of the major coastal disasters in the past decade have clearly demonstrated how nature has a primary role in reducing the impact of extreme coastal flooding events generated by storms, which produce a high cost to society as well as a threat to valuable ecosystems. After Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2014, the Government financed USD22 million for the restoration of mangroves along the affected coastlines as evidence grew showing that where coastal vegetation was present, this attenuated the magnitude of flooding. Similarly, following Hurricane Katrina the US government invested USD500 million for the restoration of coastal national parks and salt marshes, accepting the proofs that marshes helped to reduce the damage, in association with dike and levees. Thus, it is a prerequisite to propose that the reconstruction of ecosystems should be done before an event strikes, with a philosophy of prevention rather than a remedy, with a philosophy of recovery. In Europe too, many member states have started to promote the recreation of coastal wetlands, considering setback strategies as well as the reconstruction and vegetation of coastal dunes, which act as the first line of defence to flooding. As it is stated in the recently released EU-Science for Disaster Risk Management 2017 Report, a number of European Commission-funded demonstration projects are now supporting ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction, to prove the added value of such an approach compared with traditional engineering solutions.

This new approach demands: the development of new tools to model and design these reconstructed environments; merging physical concepts like bed erosion and sediment transport with the parameterization of biologically-induced phenomena, such as the role of emerged and submerged vegetation in attenuating wave and current energy; as well as the role of plants in stabilising/destabilising the morphology of coastal dune systems.

The session welcomes contributions covering modelling and monitoring aspects, including innovative approaches in coastal morphological models that account for the presence of the ecosystems, quantifying feed-back interactions between the physical and biological components. We welcome case-studies reporting recovery of the ecosystems and of the physical environment following major extremes such as tropical and extra-tropical storms. We also welcome contributions on case studies documenting new techniques for revegetation of submerged as well as subaerial environments.

Co-organized as GM5.13, co-sponsored by IGU-CCS
Convener: Paolo Ciavola | Co-conveners: Clara Armaroli, Jenny Brown, Pushpa Dissanayake
| Attendance Thu, 11 Apr, 14:00–15:45
Hall X3

In the last decades, there has been increasing interest in natural occurrences of asbestos and asbestiform minerals as a source of possible environmental risk. A crucial theme of interest related to environmental pollution is the enhanced mobilization of asbestos or asbestiform minerals affecting soils and rocks, due to human activities (e.g., road construction, excavation, mining) in comparison with natural weathering processes. Moreover, when weathering affects basic and ultrabasic rocks, some naturally occurring potentially harmful elements (e.g., Cr, Ni, Co, V) become enriched in waters and soils. The session deals with the state of the art knowledge of processes that involve the rock story, from natural outcrops to the quarry’s products as building materials, with implications due to airborne mineral fibres. Also on proper characterization of stones, such as serpentinite, to avoid conflicts when opening or re-opening quarries and using these kind of rocks in construction and/or restoration. Moreover, we are particularly interested in contributions presenting novel and classical approaches for asbestos recycling and outcrop mapping, together with possible solutions for reducing or remove asbestos exposure.

Convener: Rosalda Punturo | Co-conveners: Andrea Bloise, Dolores Pereira
| Attendance Thu, 11 Apr, 16:15–18:00
Hall X3

The session gathers geoscientific aspects such as dynamics, reactions, and environmental/health consequences of radioactive materials that are massively released accidentally (e.g., Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear power plant accidents, wide fires, etc.) and by other human activities (e.g., nuclear tests).

The radioactive materials are known as polluting materials that are hazardous for human society, but are also ideal markers in understanding dynamics and chemical/biological/electrical reactions chains in the environment. Thus, the radioactive contamination problem is multi-disciplinary. In fact this topic involves regional and global transport and local reactions of radioactive materials through atmosphere, soil and water system, ocean, and organic and ecosystem, and its relation with human and non-human biota. The topic also involves hazard prediction and nowcast technology.

By combining >30 year (halftime of Cesium 137) monitoring data after the Chernobyl Accident in 1986, >5 year dense measurement data by the most advanced instrumentation after the Fukushima Accident in 2011, and other events, we can improve our knowledgebase on the environmental behavior of radioactive materials and its environmental/biological impact. This should lead to improved monitoring systems in the future including emergency response systems, acute sampling/measurement methodology, and remediation schemes for any future nuclear accidents.

The following specific topics have traditionally been discussed:
(a) Atmospheric Science (emissions, transport, deposition, pollution);
(b) Hydrology (transport in surface and ground water system, soil-water interactions);
(c) Oceanology (transport, bio-system interaction);
(d) Soil System (transport, chemical interaction, transfer to organic system);
(e) Forestry;
(f) Natural Hazards (warning systems, health risk assessments, geophysical variability);
(g) Measurement Techniques (instrumentation, multipoint data measurements);
(h) Ecosystems (migration/decay of radionuclides).

The session consists of updated observations, new theoretical developments including simulations, and improved methods or tools which could improve observation and prediction capabilities during eventual future nuclear emergencies. New evaluations of existing tools, past nuclear contamination events and other data sets also welcome.

Public information:
The release of radioactive materials by human activity (such as nuclear accidents) are both severe hazard problem as well as ideal markers in understanding geoscience at all level of the Earth because it cycles through atmosphere, soil, plant, water system, ocean, and lives. Therefore, we must gather knowledge from all geoscience field for comprehensive understanding.

Co-organized as GI2.7/AS4.43/BG1.39/ERE5.6/GMPV6.4/HS11.65/NH8.7/OS4.33/SSS8.7
Convener: Masatoshi Yamauchi | Co-conveners: Nikolaos Evangeliou, Yasunori Igarashi, Liudmila Kolmykova, Daisuke Tsumune
| Mon, 08 Apr, 14:00–15:45
Room N1
| Attendance Mon, 08 Apr, 16:15–18:00
Hall X1
GI3.8 | PICO

Radioactivity is ubiquitous in the natural environment as a result of i) cosmic radiation from space and secondary radiation from the interaction of cosmic rays with atoms in the atmosphere, ii) terrestrial sources from mineral grains in soils and rocks, particularly Potassium (K-40), Uranium (U-238) and Thorium (Th-232), and their decay products, and iii) Radon gas (Rn-222). The use of nuclear techniques enables the measurement of natural radioactivity in air, soils and water even at trace levels, making it a particularly appealing tool for characterizing time-varying environmental phenomena. This session welcomes contributions addressing the measurement and exploitation of environmental radioactivity in all areas of geosciences, including, but not limited to:

- volcanic monitoring and surveillance;
- identification of faults and tectonic structures;
- earthquakes;
- groundwater contamination;
- coastal and marine monitoring;
- atmospheric tracing, including of greenhouse gases and pollutants;
- air ionisation and atmospheric electricity;
- cosmic rays;
- public health including the EU BSS directive.

Contributions on novel methods and instrumentation for environmental radioactivity monitoring are particularly encouraged, including payloads for airborne measurements and small satellites.

Co-organized as NH8.8
Convener: Susana Barbosa | Co-conveners: Katalin Zsuzsanna Szabó, Quentin Crowley
| Thu, 11 Apr, 08:30–10:15
PICO spot 4