Performance Assessment of a Heat Wave Vulnerability Index for Greater London, United Kingdom

Authors: Tanja Wolf et al.

Discipline: Geography

Hazard of Interest: Heat

Methods: Principal component analysis, Mapping, Poisson regression analysis, Independent samples test, Skill scores

Key Research Issues: Performance Assessment of a multivariate heat wave vulnerability index (HVI) developed for London, United Kingdom. The HVI is assessed in terms of its ability to predict whether mortality and ambulance callout attain above average levels during heat wave events.

Key Findings: The assessment results reveal that the HVI as well as a simple single variable index that represents age as a heat risk factor (the elderly index) offer potential as a priori indicators of the level of ambulance callout and mortality for all summer days and heat wave events, respectively.

Somali Piracy and the Monsoon

Authors: Duncan Cook and Sally Garrett

Discipline: Geography, Environmental Science

Hazard of Interest: Pirates

Methods: Remote sensing, mapping

Key Research Issues: Somali-based pirates operate across a vast ocean area that includes some of the busiest shipping lanes on the planet. This research set out to characterize the wind and wave conditions that existed during pirate attacks in recent years.

Key Findings: In 2011-2012, pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean region mainly occurred in the early and later half of the year, with very few attacks launched during the summer monsoon period. We propose that the rough seas and strong surface winds of the summer monsoon (JJA) have prevented piracy for periods of up to three months during 2011-2012. Remote sensed and surface weather data suggest clear environmental thresholds exist that have prevented pirates launching successful attacks. Once wind speeds exceeded 9 m/s and waves of sea state 4 (wave heights above 2.5 m) were recorded, open-water maritime piracy was halted. In contrast, the lower wind speeds and wave heights during the winter monsoon, premonsoon [March–May (MAM)], and postmonsoon [September–November (SON)] seasons were not a deterrent for pirates operating in the Indian Ocean region.