Expert opinion and probabilistic volcanic risk assessment

Amy Donovan*, J. Richard Eiser, R. Stephen J Sparks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
440 Downloads (Pure)


We present data from an international survey of scientists working at volcanic observatories concerning eruption likelihoods. The scientists were asked a range of questions using different types of phrasing. The data suggest that the phrasing of questions affects the ways in which probabilities are estimated. In total, 71% of respondents (N = 70) exhibited some form of inconsistency in their answers between and/or within different question formats. The data also allow for an analysis of the use of scaling in probabilistic assessment, and the use of quantitative versus verbal risk measurements. However, some respondents were uncomfortable with providing any numerical probability estimate, perhaps suggesting that they considered the uncertainty too high for meaningful judgements to be made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-710
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number6
Early online date3 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2017


  • expert judgement
  • probability
  • volcanic risk


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