THE POTENTIAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VOLCANO ALERTS

The Volcano Alert Level (VAL) system, standardized by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2006, is meant to save lives and keep citizens living in the shadow of an active volcano informed of their current level of risk. A new study published in Risk Analysis suggests that, when an alert remains elevated at any level above “normal” due to a period of volcanic unrest, it can cause a decline in the region’s housing prices and other economic indicators. Because of this, the authors argue that federal policymakers may need to account for the effects of prolonged volcanic unrest — not just destructive eruptions — in the provision of disaster relief funding.

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HOW COULD RISING SEA LEVEL IMPACT THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM?

Insurance policy premiums from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) allow policyholders to maintain a lower, grandfathered rate even when the risk escalates. But as coastal flooding increases due to rising sea level and more intense storms, new research published in the journal Risk Analysis suggests this grandfathered policy could lead to big losses for the NFIP.

A team of experts led by Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, studied the effect of sea level rise on a New York City neighborhood to illustrate how grandfathered rates could impact both policyholder premiums and program revenue for the NFIP over the next 30 years. Their results project losses to the NFIP as flood risk grows in the coming decades.

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WHAT MOTIVATES NATURAL RESOURCE POLICYMAKERS IN AFRICA TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE?

Climate services are vital tools for decision makers addressing climate change in developing countries. Science-based seasonal forecasts and accompanying materials can support climate risk management in agriculture, health, water management, energy, and disaster risk reduction.

But in East Africa, natural resource managers have been slow to use climate information services, partly because they are difficult to understand and may not feel relevant for their local planning purposes. A new study published by the journal Risk Analysis suggests that one way to encourage policymakers in East Africa to use climate services more often is to appeal to the motivational factors that influence their professional actions on climate change.

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GLOBAL POLIOVIRUS RISK MANAGEMENT AND MODELING

Launched in 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) stands out as one of the largest, internationally coordinated global public health major projects conducted to date, with cumulative spending of over $16.5 billion for 1988–2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 30 years later, stubborn outbreaks of wild poliovirus still occur in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where cases have been increasing since 2018. The global eradication of polio continues to be an elusive goal.

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TAKING THE FEAR OUT OF DRIVER EDUCATION

New drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 account for nearly half of the more than one million road deaths that occur worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Educational programs often use fear-based messaging and films of crash scenes to reduce risky driving behavior among young people. But does this “scary” approach work?

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USDA Says Current Poultry Food Safety Guidelines Do Not Stop Salmonella Outbreaks

Current poultry food safety guidelines for Salmonella, the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks, are inadequate. A new study conducted by Thomas Oscar, USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Salmonella prevalence alone is not a good indicator of poultry food safety,” published in Risk Analysis, explores additional factors that must be considered in order to identify poultry products that are truly safe for human consumption.

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