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Aerial View of Ice Landscape


We study disasters to reduce the risk they pose.


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Studying extremes across different natural system enables us to make progress on a problem that pushes the process of scientific discovery to its limits: The enormous scale of extreme events makes them difficult to recreate in the laboratory, their rare occurrence limits our ability to acquire field data, and their inherent nonlinearity is challenging to capture even for supercomputers. We develop customized mathematical models to advance our understanding of disasters – both natural and human-caused – and to reduce the risks they pose.

Flooded area with raft and rescue personnel in it.

Reducing the inequities in flood-risk mitigation

Flooding in urban areas can exacerbate existing community inequities, highlighting the need to expand holistic adaptation planning efforts now to lessen future risks.

The figure shows crevassing at the surface of an active shear margin in West Antarctica.

Ice Streams and the Physics of Meltdowns

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is one of the two polar ice packs of the Earth that holds about 61% of all fresh water and is thus a crucial component in climate models. Several pieces of evidence indicate that Antarctica is warming, with most of the mass loss occurring in West Antarctica.

Close view of Stromboli volcano erupting molten lava fragments.

Why do persistently active volcanoes erupt?

Many volcanoes like Stromboli or Hawaii are persistently active, emitting vast quantities of gas on a continual basis. Given that the majority of gas can escape these volcanoes passively, why do eruptions occur at all?


Arctic communities on slippery slopes

The consequences of climate change on society are most pronounced in regions where temperature changes in the range of a few degrees can cause major disruptions.

Tsunami hitting Natori City, Japan, March 11, 2011

Hybrid solutions to sustainable tsunami risk

Hybrid approaches to mitigating tsunami risk combine vegetation (green element) with traditional engineering components (gray elements) to maximize protection and other benefits.

building destroyed in an earthquake

Managing the risks posed by induced seismicity

One challenge facing triggered seismicity hazard assessment is an apparent lack of readily-available, strong predictors: it is difficult or expensive to obtain the necessary data to determine whether injection at a particular site is likely to induce earthquakes.