Over a fifth of Britons fear that a natural disaster could cause havoc in their lifetimes, with the possibility of widespread flooding being the biggest worry and a fifth fearing the impact of asteroid or meteorite showers.
The survey, commissioned by the television channel 'Yesterday', showed that flooding, severe cold and earthquakes are the top three disasters Brits fear the most.
Twenty one per cent of those questioned feared a catastrophic earthquake despite the fact that experts rated the likelihood of such an event as 'very low'.
Similarly twenty per cent of people expressed fears over asteroid or meteorite showers despite experts rating the likelihood of a large asteroid hitting the earth as very low.
The figures were relased to coincide with remarkable images created by a Canadian digital artist depicting Britain in the grip of a series of catastrophic natural disasters.
The five stunning images, which were commissioned by TV channel 'Yesterday', shows the Houses of Parliament amid devastating floods, Trafalgar Square as an ice age takes hold, the Angel of the North following an earthquake, London during a meteorite shower and Edinburgh Castle being hit by a tornado.
Digital artist Steve McGhee was asked to create the images to coincide with the premier tonight on factual channel Yesterday of Perfect Storms: Disasters that change the World, which is to be broadcast on Thursdays at 9pm.
The new series investigates the impact of extreme weather conditions on monumental events such as the Hindenburg crash, the sinking of the Titanic and the Challenger disaster.
Using cutting-edge animation and storytelling it recreates disasters of the past with have shaped the course of history.
Questions the show seeks to answer include 'what if the Nazi army hadn’t frozen to death in Russia in 1941?' and 'if there wasn’t a massive earthquake in Japan in 1923, would the military have gained control?'.
The new survey found that the number one concern of the British public was flooding with over half of the people interviewed concerned about it.
Professor Bruce Malamud, an expert on natural & environmental hazards at King’s College London, believes that the worrying UK perception of flooding is a result of inland floods occurring in recent years and the subsequent media coverage.
He argues that 'severe cold', which is the second most feared disaster is actually more likely to occur, though may have slightly less impact.
The list of the most and least feared natural disasters compared with their likelihood and possible impact
1. Flooding (52%) (Medium likelihood, Medium-high impact)
2. Severe cold (38%) (Medium-high likelihood, Medium impact)
3. Earthquakes (21%) (Very low likelihood, low impact)
4. Droughts (21%) (Medium likelihood, medium-low impact)
5. Asteroid or meteorite showers (20%) (Very low likelihood, Could be very high impact)
6. Heat waves (17%) (Medium-high likelihood, medium impact)
7. Tsunamis (15%) (Low likelihood, low impact)
8. Landslides (12%) (Medium-high likelihood, relatively low accumulated impact)
9. Tornadoes (11%) (Medium likelihood, relatively low accumulated impact)
10. Volcanic eruptions (7%) (Medium likelihood, medium-high impact),