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Thursday 05 Dec 2019Earth observations and disaster risk decision making: Some examples and opportunities

Andrew Kruczkiewicz - Columbia University

Harrison 170 17:30-18:30


Floods have affected more people than any other type of disaster in the 21st century, and over half the disasters that occur annually are hydrologic in nature. Earth observations (EO) have a proven value in identifying the presence of floods as they occur – where floods are located and who they are impacting. While satellite-derived imagery has advanced the understanding of flood extent as an important element to disaster response and recovery strategies, an often missing element is that of risk reduction and early action. And though the concept of risk is discussed frequently in the EO community, the ability “to visualize risk from space” remains relatively undefined in its approach. This seminar will provide an opportunity to have a discussion about opportunities to explore how to best capture humanitarian considerations within the Earth observation derived dataset development and dissemination processes


Andrew Kruczkiewicz is interested in the role of satellites and remote sensing technology and data for sector-specific applications, specifically the development and assessment of algorithms to detect and map spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation, temperature and other climatic and geophysical variables. This includes analyzing their impact on infrastructure, public health and agriculture, on different timescales, to increase the understanding of risk for decision making.

He is also interested in the intersection of the social and physical sciences, especially pertaining to the integration of remote sensing into early warning systems for extreme events such as floods, storm surge from tropical cyclones, wildfires and landslides to inform preparedness actions and risk assessment within the humanitarian sector. An overarching interest of Andrew’s is exploring how to best communicate uncertainty found within climate and weather impact-based projections and forecasts to decision makers in the humanitarian sector at sub-national, national and global scales.

Andrew holds the position of Science Adviser to the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. He is Principal Investigator on NASA Grant #80NSSC18K0342, Towards a Global Flood & Flash Food Early Warning Early Action System Driven by NASA Earth Observations and Hydrologic Models and Co-PI on NASA Grant #80NSSC18K1693: COMPAS: Connecting Earth Observations to Decision Makers for Preparedness Action in the Rohingya Refugee Camps. Andrew is Co-lead for the UN Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Standard Operating Procedures for El Nino and La Nina Episodes and is on the advisory board for the African Risk Capacity River Flood Model.

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