Public Release:  EARTH: Risky business: Modeling catastrophes

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - The probability that a given natural hazard could become a natural disaster is higher today than at any previous point in history, largely because of population growth putting more people and infrastructure in harm's way. Who pays for the damage and how is value and risk assessed? Much of it comes down to insurance and reinsurance agencies, which are relying more and more on sophisticated catastrophe modeling tools to help gauge when the next disaster will strike, and how much it will cost.

Catastrophe modeling has only been around for a couple of decades, but in that time it has changed rapidly. In tandem with worldwide changes in population growth, higher standards of living and climate change, the catastrophe modeling industry -- unfamiliar to most people despite its major influence on our lives -- is evolving at a breakneck pace. What goes into a catastrophe model, and how will it affect you? Read the story online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/risky-business-modeling-catastrophes and find out.

Make sure to check out the other great stories in this month's issue of EARTH Magazine. Get pumped for renewable energy, learn how monsoons may affect volcanic plumes, and close the case on funky fluorite all in this month's issue.

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Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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