Dr Peter Stafford

Financial Support: Willis Research Network

The natural extension of Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis is Quantitative Risk Analysis and Earthquake Loss Estimation. Over the past few years I have conducted research on a number of issues related to these areas with a view to refining current approaches to earthquake loss estimation used within the reinsurance industry. Much of this ongoing work is conducted as part of the Willis Research Network (WRN), an international network of top researchers in fields related to natural catastrophes.

Mean rates of exceedance for vector hazard (upper left) and vector risk (upper right) with the associated mean rate densities shown in the lower panels.
Mean rates of exceedance for vector hazard (upper left) and vector risk (upper right) with the associated mean rate densities shown in the lower panels.

Mean rates of exceedance for vector hazard (upper left) and vector risk (upper right) with the associated mean rate densities shown in the lower panels.

The particular areas of focus have been:

  • Extension of loss estimation approaches to a vector-valued framework
  • Development of vector-valued fragility surfaces for RC frame structures
  • Development of models for the spatial correlation of intensity measures used within loss estimation for both short-period structural, and geotechnical, inventories (Arias intensity)
  • Development and application of methods to account for the spatial resolution of information available for loss estimation
  • Development of methods for estimating direct and indirect economic losses from spatially-distributed portfolios
  • Proposal of an approach for optimal economic recovery from catastrophic earthquake events

Influence of spatial resolution upon conditional ground-motion fields for the Christchurch earthquake.
Influence of spatial resolution upon conditional ground-motion fields for the Christchurch earthquake.

The underlying theme in all of the above focussed areas is the assessment, quantification and management of aleatory variability and epistemic uncertainty within earthquake loss estimation.

By conducting research on all aspects of earthquake loss estimation, from geological seismic source characterisation, seismic hazard analysis, ground-motion simulation, compilation of inventory databases, development of fragility curves, network reliability analyses and economic loss modelling, our group has been uniquely positioned to understand the relative roles that uncertainty in different components of earthquake loss modelling play. Currently, research continues to be undertaken on this theme of uncertainty quantification.