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Natural hazards in a warming world: landslides and cryospheric hazards in the 21st century

Dr Max Van Wyk De Vries will deliver the ESE Departmental Seminar on Thursday the 15th of February 2024: “Natural hazards in a warming world: landslides and cryospheric hazards in the 21st century”.

Join us in room G41 – RSM Building – on Thursday 15th of February 2024 at 12h15.


Glacierized mountainous areas make up some of the most hazardous landscapes of our planet, and are undergoing profound changes under 21st century climatic warming. The answers to two fundamental questions are required in these areas: (i) what is the baseline hazard and risk, and (ii) are the hazard and risk likely to increase or decrease in coming decades. While these questions remain largely unanswered on a global scale, this presentation delves into the subject through a series of case studies of complex hazards in glacierized and high-mountain areas. In this talk, I will consider both the gaps in our current knowledge, and how novel techniques and datasets help bridge these. In particular, I will discuss the two-way interactions between landslides and glaciers, improving summit ice volume estimates at glacierized volcanoes, and new optical feature tracking approaches to map slope deformation the scale of mountain ranges. The evolving hazard profile intersects with a growing population and rapidly developing infrastructure networks. As a result, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential to comprehensively analyze and mitigate risk. This talk highlights the significance of addressing these challenges and explores avenues for future research, in particular introducing the new Cambridge Complex and Multihazard Research Group (CoMHaz).

About the speaker

"PictureI am an Assistant Professor in Natural Hazards, in a joint appointment between the departments of Geography and Earth Sciences (University of Cambridge). I work broadly on multihazard, in particular focusing on landslides, volcanoes, cryospheric hazards, and the interactions between these. I have set up the Cambridge Complex and multihazard research group to work on related problems. Prior to joining Cambridge, I worked as an Assistant Professor in Physical Geography at the University of Nottingham, a Senior Research Associate in Multi-Hazard Risk Modeling at the University of Oxford, and as a Research Associate in Glaciology at the University of Liverpool. I was awarded my PhD in Earth System Science from the University of Minnesota (USA), and earned my BSc at the University of Edinburgh and the University of British Columbia. I look forward to working with many of you.

Event details

Event date:
February 15, 2024