Last month, Fathom attended the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union; a huge event in the calendar year of physical scientists which attracted over 15,000 of them to Vienna, Austria. The EGU conference is a fantastic opportunity to share our work with the wider scientific community, where our methods can be critiqued by the brightest minds in academia. It also gives us the chance to rub shoulders with other trailblazers in our field, giving us invaluable connections and new ideas to improve our own techniques.
Niall presented the science behind – and some results of – our stochastic flood model of the USA. This model provides a synthetic catalogue of plausible flood event footprints, based on dependence between observations of extreme events. He presented this in a session chaired by one of our partners, Gero Michel of Chaucer Syndicates, (and co-chaired by Fathom’s Chris Sampson) to packed room of (re)insurers, risk managers, decision-makers and catastrophe modellers. The abstract can be found here: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/EGU2018-4973.pdf.
CTO Chris Sampson also presented a poster during this session, exhibiting our recent work calculating flood exposure in the developing world using hyper-resolution population data from the Facebook Connectivity Lab. This research demonstrates that the accuracy of risk calculations depends on the quality of both hazard and exposure data. The Facebook data constitute a much-needed improvement to the latter in the developing world and, when intersected with our flood maps, shows exposure has been over-estimated in past calculations. See the abstract here: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/EGU2018-16324.pdf.
Ollie showcased some of the research he has led with our partners at The Nature Conservancy in the USA. This work constitutes provides a nationwide framework for analysing the cost-effectiveness of conserving floodplains in their natural state for flood mitigation purposes. Alongside Kris Johnson and Joe Fargione at TNC, we demonstrate that buying up at-risk land before it gets built on is, in many cases, orders of magnitude cheaper than the future damages that may be incurred by developing such areas. The abstract for Ollie’s poster is here: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/EGU2018-4904.pdf.
Despite a packed week of science, we, of course, found the time to see the sights and sample the cuisine of beautiful Vienna!