My research focuses on bringing the science of extreme event risk assessment into action by building resilient communities to weather-induced extreme events. As the requisite for proper disaster risk reduction is to have an estimation of the social and economic vulnerabilities of the region to natural disasters, my first endeavor is to develop innovative approaches for estimating the risks. My research also includes proposing the quantitative approaches to help the stakeholders, local, and federal authorities to assess the applicability of their suggested mitigation plans to investigate if they help the future communities moving toward resilience in such destructive disasters.
Storm Surge Modeling in Tropical Cyclone Risk Assessment
Storm Surge is one of the three components of wind, surge, and precipitation that cause devastating consequences in Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones. In this project, I focus on combining the Columbia HAZard model (CHAZ) and Geoclaw, a package constructed by a collection of finite volume methods for linear and nonlinear hyperbolic systems of conservation laws, to investigate the social and economic vulnerabilities of coastal communities to such disasters in current and future climate scenarios.
Human Behavior and Flood Risk
Human behavior is among the most important factors that influence urbanization in flood-prone areas. Current studies focusing on flood risk assessment do not consider this impact. Moreover, flood mitigation policies are implemented without considering the role of human behavior and how the community will cope with measures such as buyout, land acquisition, and relocation that are often adopted to minimize development in flood-prone regions. Therefore, such policies may either be resisted by the community or result in severe socioeconomic consequences. In this project, I developed a new Agent-Based Model (ABM) to investigate the complex interaction between human behavior and urbanization, and its role in creating future communities vulnerable to flood events.
Urbanization and Flood Risk
Socioeconomic development is a major cause of urban expansion in flood-prone regions, as it places more physical, economic, and social infrastructure at risk. In this project, I have developed a framework for understanding the interactions between urbanization and flood risk as an essential ingredient for flood risk management. This framework integrates an urban growth model with a hazard model to explore flood risk under various urban development scenarios.
Threshold Analysis for Flood and Drought
In collaboration with the World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP) and using a satellite dataset, I have performed drought and flood analysis for three developing countries - Philipines, Cambodia, and Myanmar - to define early warning thresholds. These thresholds can be used by local governments for adopting proper actions before the hazard hits and also can be used in the "cat bond" concept defined for Insurance purposes.