Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 1487-1497, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-1487-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Jun 2016
Communication strategies to address geohydrological risks: the POLARIS web initiative in Italy
Paola Salvati1, Umberto Pernice2, Cinzia Bianchi1, Ivan Marchesini1, Federica Fiorucci1, and Fausto Guzzetti1 1Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, via Madonna Alta 126, 06128 Perugia, Italy
2Innovation Consultant, Viale Michelangelo 2315, 90135 Palermo, Italy
Abstract. Floods and landslides are common phenomena that cause serious damage and pose a severe threat to the population of Italy. The social and economic impact of floods and landslides in Italy is severe, and strategies to target the mitigation of the effects of these phenomena are needed. In the last few years, the scientific community has started to use web technology to communicate information on geohydrological hazards and the associated risks. However, the communication is often targeted at technical experts. In the attempt to communicate relevant information on geohydrological hazards with potential human consequences to a broader audience, we designed the POpoLazione A RISchio (POLARIS) website. POLARIS publishes accurate information on geohydrological risk to the population of Italy, including periodic reports on landslide and flood risk, analyses of specific damaging events and blog posts on landslide and flood events. By monitoring the access to POLARIS in the 21-month period between January 2014 and October 2015, we found that access increased during particularly damaging geohydrological events and immediately after the website was advertised by press releases. POLARIS demonstrates that the scientific community can implement suitable communication strategies that address different societal audiences, exploiting the role of mass media and social media. The strategies can help multiple audiences understand how risks can be reduced through appropriate measures and behaviours, contributing to increasing the resilience of the population to geohydrological risk.

Citation: Salvati, P., Pernice, U., Bianchi, C., Marchesini, I., Fiorucci, F., and Guzzetti, F.: Communication strategies to address geohydrological risks: the POLARIS web initiative in Italy, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 1487-1497, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-1487-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
We designed the POLARIS website to communicate to a broader audience information on geohydrological (landslide and flood) hazards with potential consequences to the population. POLARIS publishes periodic reports, analyses of specific damaging events and blog posts. POLARIS can help multiple audiences understand how risks can be reduced through appropriate measures and behaviours, contributing to increasing the resilience of the population to geohydrological risk.
We designed the POLARIS website to communicate to a broader audience information on...
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