What does hazard mean? Seeking to provide further clarification to commonly used landslide terminology
Concepts and definitions for landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk zoning as-assessment have been defined in the paper entitled "Guidelines for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning for Land Use Planning" and the associated Commentary by produced by JTC-1, the Technical Committee for Landslides and Engineered Slopes (Fell et al. 2008a, b. These papers are largely based on earlier work by the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS 2007). However the authors believe the use, meaning and intent of some landslide terminology remains an issue in effectively communicating concepts amongst the geoscience and engineering communities, land use planners and inevitably the general public. Recent experience within Australia during the 2011 National LRM Roadshow and at the 11th International and 2nd North American Symposium on Landslides in Banff, Canada in 2012 noted different interpretations and applications for the commonly used term 'hazard', and the associated terms 'hazard maps', 'hazard mapping' and 'hazard assessment' even within such specialist technical groups. It is then vitally important when relating such information and knowledge to non-technical people outside 'our' community, that we use clear and consistent terminology and language with appropriate clarification when needed. This paper seeks to provide clarification around the term 'hazard' in an attempt to inform and correct the widespread ambiguous use of this basic term when used in connection with landslide risk. We seek to provide clarifying context so as to promote better communication and understanding between all users concerned with a knowledge of areas that have been affected by landslides (inventories), areas that could be affected (susceptibility), how likely they may be to occur (frequency analysis) and what might happen if they do occur (consequences).