Risk Assessment for Pyroclastic Flows
Dr. James Berger, Department of Statistical Science, Duke University.
The problem of risk assessment for rare natural hazards -- such as volcanic pyroclastic flows -- is addressed, and illustrated with the Soufriere Hills Volcano on the island of Montserrat. Assessment is approached through a combination of
mathematical computer modeling, statistical modeling of geophysical data, and extreme-event probability computation.
A mathematical computer model of the natural hazard is used to provide the needed extrapolation to unseen parts of the hazard
space. Statistical modeling of the available geophysical data is needed to determine the initializing distribution for exercising the
computer model. In dealing with rare events, direct simulations involving the computer model are prohibitively expensive, so
computation of the risk probabilities requires a combination of adaptive design of computer model approximations (emulators)
and rare event simulation.
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