Bailey, N.J., Swinerd, G.G., Lewis, H.G. and Crowther, R.
Global vulnerability to near-Earth object impact
[in special issue: Managing Extreme Events - Issues for Risk Management]
Risk Management, 12, (1), . (doi:10.1057/rm.2009.16).
A clear appreciation of the consequences resulting from an asteroid impact is required in order to understand the near Earth object (NEO) hazard. Three main processes require modelling to analyse the entire impact event. These are the atmospheric entry phase, land impact events and ocean impact events. A range of impact generated effects (IGEs) are produced by different impact scenarios. It is these IGEs that present the threat to human populations world wide, and the infrastructure they utilise. A software system for analysing the NEO threat has been developed, entitled NEOimpactor, to examine the social and economic consequences from land and ocean impacts. Existing mathematical models for the three principal impact processes have been integrated into one complete system, which has the capability to model the various effects of a terrestrial asteroid impact and, critically, predict the consequences for the global population and infrastructure. Analysis of multiple impact simulations provides a robust method for the provision of an integrated, global vulnerability assessment of the NEO hazard. The primary graphical outputs from NEOimpactor are in the form of ‘relative consequence’ maps, and these have been designed to be comprehensible to a non-specialist audience. By the use of a series of multiple-impact simulations, the system has identified the five countries most at risk from the impact hazard, as well as indicating the various factors influencing vulnerability.
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