Interactions between apparently 'primary' weather-driven hazards and their cost

J K Hillier, N Macdonald, Gregor C Leckebusch, A Stavrinides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


A statistical analysis of the largest weather-driven hazards in the UK contradicts the typical view that each predominates in distinct events that do not interact with those of other hazard types (i.e., are 'primary'); this potentially has implications for any multi-hazard environments globally where some types of severe event are still thought to occur independently. By a first co-investigation of long (1884-2008) meteorological time-series and nationwide insurance losses for UK domestic houses (averaging £1.1 billion/yr), new systematic interactions within a 1 year timeframe are identified between temporally-distinct floods, winter wind storms, and shrink-swell subsidence events (P <0.03); this increases costs by up to £0.3 billion/yr (i.e., 26%), although impacts will be spatially variable depending upon the interplay of hazards. 'Memory' required in the environmental system to cause these intra-annual links between event types appears to reside in soil moisture and, tentatively, sea surface temperatures. Similar, unidentified interactions between non-synchronous events are likely worldwide, and the analytical methods we have developed to identify and quantify them are suitable for application to meteorological, geological (e.g., volcanic) and cryospheric (e.g., avalanches) hazards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104003
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2015


  • atmospheric
  • interaction
  • extreme weather
  • risk
  • storm
  • flood
  • insurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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