Creating personalised warnings for future natural hazards
Dr Sally Potter is a senior social scientist at GNS Science in New Zealand. She conducts research on how people respond to forecasts and warnings for natural hazards, and applies the findings to help write forecasts and design early warning systems. She was involved in research and application for events such as the 2010 Canterbury earthquakes, 2012 Tongariro eruptions, 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, 2019 Whakaari/White Island eruption, 2022-23 Taupō volcanic unrest episode, and 2023 Cyclone Gabrielle. She also works with MetService and the World Meteorological Organization on the future of weather warnings.
Sally witnessed the eruption of Ruapehu in 1995-96 out her living room window as a child, and frequently felt earthquakes from Taupō supervolcano in the late 1990s, sparking an interest in working with natural hazards. Her PhD reviewed New Zealand’s Volcanic Alert Level system, and determined how often Taupō volcano had unrest historically and when to raise the Volcanic Alert Level to one, which it did for the first time in September 2022.