Wednesday, October 3, 2012

EARTH: Risky Business - Modeling Catastrophes

The probability that a given natural hazard could become a natural disaster is higher today than at any previous point in history, largely because of population growth putting more people and infrastructure in harm's way. Who pays for the damage and how is value and risk assessed? Much of it comes down to insurance and reinsurance agencies, which are relying more and more on sophisticated catastrophe modeling tools to help gauge when the next disaster will strike, and how much it will cost.

Catastrophe modeling has only been around for a couple of decades, but in that time it has changed rapidly. In tandem with worldwide changes in population growth, higher standards of living and climate change, the catastrophe modeling industry — unfamiliar to most people despite its major influence on our lives — is evolving at a breakneck pace. What goes into a catastrophe model, and how will it affect you? Read the story online at and find out.

Make sure to check out the other great stories in this month's issue of EARTH Magazine. Get pumped for renewable energy, learn how monsoons may affect volcanic plumes, and close the case on funky fluorite all in this month's issue.

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