New Volcanic Futures

MERIT Pilot Study

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In this pilot study, we use MERIT (Modelling the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure Tool) prototype to assess the economic impacts of potential Taranaki volcanic futures, and simulate how the economy recovers from such disruptions. We test the end-to-end modelling capabilities for a large explosive eruption scenario of high impact. Using data produced by geological models, we apply system dynamics thinking to simulate the effects of multiple volcano eruptions over across multiple systems, and to estimate the associated economic consequences. Disruptions are assessed across time and space at both regional and national scale, and for multiple stakeholders (i.e. households and industries).

We model a complex eruption scenario with two eruption events leading to multiple infrastructure outages, such as water service, electricity and transport. Data about what is damaged, where services are affected and how long is required to restore the services are key information. Specifically, the generated layered data are: (i) RiskScape time-stamped outrages for specific infrastructures (electricity and water), (ii) population data at SA1 level, (iii) road accessibility matrix, (iv) ad-hoc operability to agriculture (share of normal operations that can operate due to damages to facilities), and (v) building damage state.

MERIT contains a set of inter-related modules, with the dynamic economic model at its core. The disruption data is used in the Business Behaviours Module (BBM) of MERIT to estimate the operability of industries to continue operating from initial disruption back to full production. Other disruption effects, like business relocation, population relocation and transportation system responses, are also accounted for. Then, in the Dynamic Economic Model (DEM), MERIT combines all those inputs and simulate how the economy responds over time providing a dynamic picture of the disruptive economy. It generates different economic measures such as income, value added, GDP (imports and exports and level of investments) at industry or household level for regional and national economy.

In future model runs we will test the ability to assess the benefits of different recovery options and to identify the main drivers of economic impacts for most effect intervention options. This will allow planning for and responding to disruption events in a way that makes community more resilient to volcanic hazard.

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