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The complex interplay between volcano research science, monitoring and risk assessment: some insights from Italy

Event Type: 
Seminar
Event Date: 
15 January 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue: 
ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: 
Augusto Neri
About the speaker: 

Augusto Neri received his Master degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pisa and his PhD from the Illinois Institute of Technology of Chicago. Since 2003 he is Research Director in physical volcanology at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Italy, and since 2014 he has the qualifications of full professor of Volcanology and Earth Physics. Since 2016 he is serving as Director of the Volcanoes Department of INGV. Neri's scientific career has been focused on the development and application of original multiphase flow models of volcanic processes and phenomena, particularly pyroclastic density currents, volcanic plumes, ash dispersal and deposition and conduit flow. Neri has also contributed to the quantitative assessment of volcanic hazards and risks at Italian and foreign volcanoes such as Vesuvio, Campi Flegrei, Etna, Mt. St. Helens, Soufriere Hills of Montserrat, Eyjafjallajökull, Santorini, La Soufriere of Guadeloupe, etc. He is author of more than 95 scientific papers and has been the PI of several international and national projects in these fields. In 2017 he has been awarded the Sergey Soloviev Medal of EGU and have been appointed Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America for his pioneering research in modelling volcanic processes and his effort worldwide to mitigate explosive eruption risks.

About the event: 

The potential for great losses of life and economic disruption in violent eruptions has emerged as a reality with the recent rapid growth of human settlements in the vicinity of many explosive volcanoes around the world. Within the European Union (EU), Italy is certainly the most exposed country to this peril. Vesuvius, located eastward of the city of Napoli, is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world with over 750,000 people who would need to be evacuated in advance of a future eruption and more than one million who could become significantly exposed to the impacts of volcanic ash. Similarly, the caldera of Campi Flegrei, westward of Naples, contains a few hundred thousand people that are at potential risk in the event of renewed explosive activity at this volcano which, since 2012, it is in an unrest state (alert level Yellow).

In order to properly face such situations, quantitative methods for making hazard and risk assessments and developing evidence-based planning for disaster management at explosive volcanoes are needed. Such approach requires the development and integration of different methods including updates of historical data and collection of new fieldwork results, development of high-resolution multidisciplinary monitoring networks including early-warning systems, development of novel 3D numerical modelling of the hazardous phenomena, quantification of the system uncertainty as well as the effective integration of hazard data with vulnerability and exposure information.

In order to develop such an approach, Italy has developed a Civil Protection System which foresees a close collaboration between all different actors playing a role in the assessment of volcanic risk. In particular, Dipartimento della Protezione Civile (DPC) and Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) has developed a decennal formal agreement of cooperation aimed to provide a surveillance service of the Italian volcanoes as well as the gain of new knowledge and understanding of the volcanic systems. In this talk I will present the main characteristics of the volcanic risk problem in Italy as well as the nature and relationships of the main institutions dealing with it.