Natural Hazard Risk Assessment
Across the globe, natural hazards pose considerable risk to people, systems, infrastructure and real estate. Since 1980, over 230 weather and climate disasters, with costs totaling in excess of $1.5 trillion dollars, have occurred in the U.S. alone, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Furthermore, the risk of these events is increasing year-after-year as events become more frequent and consequences costlier. While it is seldom possible to influence the frequency of these events, it may be possible to plan for them, to limit their impacts and to expedite recovery.
Through our vast experience and comprehensive approach to evaluating risk, Binera assists our clients in developing a thorough understanding of their exposure to natural hazard risk, helping inform decision-making and cost-effective planning. Binera applies best-in-class methods to assess the risk of each type of natural hazard, assessing threat and performing detailed analysis of potential consequences of the event. While specific analysis approaches may be hazard specific, Binera maintains the same core tenets that it applies to quantifying all types of risk; including reliance on best-available empirical data derived from authoritative sources, application of detailed GIS analysis and simulation tools, and generation of results through a transparent process that is both defensible and repeatable.
Tropical Cyclone Risk Analysis
Assessing the risk associated with tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms) can be difficult. Publicly available flood maps are limited in the levels of flooding that can be evaluated, suffer from low resolution, and are often based on a very limited set of historical data. Furthermore, there is still considerable uncertainty in attempting to determine the expected frequency of occurrence for the range of plausible storms.
Binera has developed a comprehensive, fully probabilistic methodology to perform detailed assessments of the consequence and risk posed by Tropical Cyclones to jurisdictions, businesses, and other entities. This capability involves the application of a proprietary synthetic storm database, representing 100,000 years of simulated storms in the Atlantic Basin. Inundation results, rainfall, and storm frequency data are integrated to produce highly detailed probabilistic flood maps for each site, indicating the annual probability of reaching different levels of flooding at critical locations. Flood probabilities are combined with in-depth analysis of asset damage, socio-economic consequence, and/or business impacts to evaluate the overall risk for each event. The informative results generated through this analysis are used to develop risk communication products for stakeholders, including GIS-based probabilistic flood maps and dynamic flood path diagrams, that spatially illustrate highly vulnerable areas and help stakeholders plan appropriate mitigation projects. Because the assessment process can be conducted under current environmental conditions or under projected future climate conditions or planning scenarios – including those identified by the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (i.e., RCP 4.5, RCP 8.5, etc.) – this capability provides stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of their exposure, enabling planning commensurate with their perceived risk, both now and in the future.
BINERA IN ACTION
Binera provides timely and informative assessment of risk for stakeholders and decision-makers at all levels in both the private and public sectors to assist planning and evacuation efforts and as a component of broader natural hazard risk assessment initiatives. The expert analysis produced by Binera is also relied upon by our clients to inform insurance acquisition; helping ensure appropriate coverage is carried based on a detailed analysis of exposure. Binera recently conducted a broad-based risk assessment of multiple natural hazard events for a Regional Homeland Security Planning Group in Illinois. The results of the risk assessment were used to inform the comprehensive ‘Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment’ (THIRA) program implemented by FEMA. By leveraging the analysis performed by Binera, the jurisdiction was able to not only meet basic THIRA requirements, but to also put in place a long-term, broad-based risk management capability.