Hydrological, meteorological or climatological disasters account for 45% of the fatalities and 79% of the economic losses caused by natural hazards. Risks arising from hazards like landslides, glacial lake outbursts, large river floods and flash floods navigate across multiple disciplines and go beyond the expertise of a single research group or research institute. Interdisciplinary and international collaborative efforts enhance scientific discovery and transnational research, which is limited despite the clear benefits. Co-PREPARE facilitates cooperation between the University of Potsdam (UP) and Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) and aims to build capacity in joint hazard research by sharing expertise and creating new knowledge together.
Within this cooperation, our aim is to amalgamate our expertise, methods and data to advance the understanding of the impacts and changes in the Uttarakhand state and beyond, a part of Indian Himalayas. Acknowledging that sustainable cooperation can only be achieved through research and teaching commitment, both scientific work and training are at the heart of our collaborative effort. Our primary goals are:
IIT Roorkee and UP maintains a dedicated International Office that has extensive experience in hosting international scholars and students and in organising summer- and winter-schools. The exchange of staff from the International Office of UP and international relations personnel from IITR contributes to the internationalization on the administrative level and thus to our primary goal (i).
Regarding primary goal (ii), the collaborating institutions complement perfectly regarding methodological expertise on hydrogeophysical modelling, innovative data approaches, remote-sensing based observation, and risk assessment. IITR, the second oldest technical university in Asia, undertakes, aids, promotes, guides and coordinates research in the Himalayan region on a wide range of topics. Further, IITR also coordinates research activities amongst different institutions and universities in the country. Specifically, the Department of Hydrology (DoH) runs special postgraduate programmes for students of the Afro Asian region and contribute towards the international community in science and technology. Since 2015, UP has led a large research and education consortium “Natural Hazards and Risks in a Changing World (NatRiskChange)” that has a large topical and methodological overlap with the scientific goals of Co-PREPARE. At the moment, NatRiskChange hosts 16 PhD students, 2 Postdocs and 20+ PIs and Co-PIs. (e.g. Bronstert et al., 2018). The UP has a long history of investigating natural hazards and risks in mountainous regions worldwide and specifically in the Himalayas (e.g., Schwanghart et al., 2016; Gerlitz et al., 2018; He et al., 2019; Rottler et al., 2019; Veh et al., 2019). With this cooperation, we aim to bring expertise, join methodologies and data available on both sides to advance the understanding of the impacts and changes in the Uttarakhand state and beyond, a part of Indian Himalayas
The impact of a research project increases many folds, if findings are disseminated appropriately. Our primary goal (iii) ensures that information and knowledge generated in (i) and (ii) are effectively aggregated and customized for communication and outreach.
Hydrometeorological and geomorphological hazards account for 45% of the fatalities and 79% of global economic losses. Exacerbated by high seismic activity and rugged terrain, the Himalayan landscape is particularly susceptible to generating these events, which often transform into cascading hazards—an initial event causes a downstream hazard chain, e.g. glacial lake outburst floods to debris flows. These hazards interfere with increasing population pressure and expansion of settlements along rivers and new infrastructure developments such as roads and hydropower projects. Rising temperatures and changes in weather patterns in the wake of global warming likely elevate risks from hazards such as landslides, glacial lake outburst floods, riverine and flash floods. The complexity of these hazards and their underlying processes demand scientific efforts and approaches from multiple disciplines.
Multidisciplinary approaches and methodologies are important to holistically estimate and predict hazard events and interactions of multiple hazards, and to understand how vulnerable societies cope and respond to these hazards in the Himalayan region. This session aims to bring together expertise on approaches, methods, and data to advance the understanding of the impacts and changes in the extremely high mountain landscapes, with a particular focus on the trends of hydro-geomorphological disasters on the Himalayas and their societal impacts.
We welcome contribution from research topics (but not restricted to)
The session is closely linked to the NHESS special issue “Estimating and Predicting Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities in the Himalayan Region”. We encourage all session contributors to support this issue.