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Our Hazardous Environment GEOG 1110 Dr. Thieme. Scientific Method, Forecasts, Prediction, and Risk Assessment. Scientific Method. make observations. formulate a hypothesis. test the hypothesis with new observations. draw conclusions (build a "theory"). Scientific Hypothesis.

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our hazardous environment geog 1110 dr thieme

Our Hazardous EnvironmentGEOG 1110Dr. Thieme

Scientific Method, Forecasts, Prediction, and Risk Assessment

scientific method
Scientific Method
  • make observations
  • formulate a hypothesis
  • test the hypothesis with new observations
  • draw conclusions (build a "theory")
scientific hypothesis
Scientific Hypothesis
  • a tentative assumption that is made for the purpose of a study.
  • testable against data obtained by experiment or from field observation
  • disproving your hypothesis thereby confirms its opposite ornull hypothesis
slide5
Observation: A landslide occurred and destroyed three homes
  • Hypothesis:Water on the hillslope, seeping from a buried waterline, caused the landslide
risk assessment
Risk Assessment
  • using statistical methods to quantify the risks involved in a particular action
  • risks are compared and contrasted before deciding how to act
  • risks are evaluated in order to identify the causes of a medical condition or an environmental problem
slide7
Risk
  • probability calculated as a fraction:
    • 0 (certain not to occur)
    • 1 (certain to occur)
  • multiplied by the consequences
  • consequences can be harm or loss to:
    • people
    • property
    • economic activity
    • public service....
risk analysis
Risk Analysis
  • estimate the probability that an event will occur and the consequences resulting
  • Los Angeles has a 5 percent chance of a moderate earthquake (p = 0.05)
risk analysis1
Risk Analysis
  • large events have lower probability than small ones
  • but consequences tend to be greater

Acceptable Risk - the risk that society or individuals are willing to take

  • businesses calculate risk in economic terms
  • individuals also incur risk
risk analysis and planning
Risk Analysis and Planning
  • delineate areas where hazards occur
  • identify the processes responsible
  • attempt to control nature ("flood control")?
  • provide maps and information to planners and decision maker in order to
  • avoid putting people and property in harm's way
avoiding disasters
Avoiding Disasters
  • Land Use Changes: Avoid building on
    • floodplains
    • areas where there are active landslides
    • places where coastal erosion will occur
  • Insurance (flood, earthquake, etc...)
  • Evacuation
  • Preparedness - Train individuals and institutions to handle large numbers of injured and limit mass hysteria
prediction and forecast
Prediction and Forecast
  • Prediction involves specifying date, time, and size of an event (flood resulting from tropical storm, etc...)
  • Forecast is a prediction with a range of certainty (and uncertainty!)
  • For some types of natural hazard, neither prediction nor forecast is really possible
  • Some assessment of risk is always possible
precursor events
Precursor Events
  • linked with a hazardous event either causally or statistically
  • Foreshocks or unusual uplift of land may precede earthquakes
  • Volcanoes sometimes swell or bulge before they erupt
  • Sea may withdraw suddenly from a beach before a tsunami hits
natural hazard impacts
Natural Hazard Impacts
  • Magnitude of an impact
  • Frequency of impacts
  • Magnitude and Frequency are inversely related
    • Large magnitude events occur less frequently
    • Large magnitude events have a lower probability of recurring in any given time interval
the golden mean
The "Golden Mean"
  • Most of the work of forming Earth's surface is done by events of moderate magnitude and frequency
  • "Bankfull" Floods
  • Normal Wave Base in Nearshore Zone
  • Mid-latitude Cyclone Storms
natural hazard impacts1
Natural Hazard Impacts

Direct Effects include people killed, injured, dislocated, or otherwise damaged

Indirect Effects include

  • emotional distress
  • donations of money and goods
  • financial disruption and funding of recovery
disaster recovery
Disaster Recovery

Stages of Disaster Recovery:

  • Emergency Work
  • Restoration of Services and Communication Lines
  • Reconstruction
human dimension
Human Dimension
  • Human Interaction with Natural Hazards increases with population density
  • Some technologies play a specific role in triggering or mitigating disasters and catastrophes caused by natural hazards
  • Human Interaction with Natural Hazards is discussed in each chapter of your textbook (Sections 2.8, 3.6, 4.6, etc...)
  • Risk Assessment is important to understanding the effects of natural hazards
  • Minimizing the Risk from Natural Hazards is discussed in each chapter of your textbook (Sections 3.9, 4.6, 5.7, etc...)
natural hazard linkages
Natural Hazard Linkages
  • Earthquakes produce
    • landslides
    • tsunamis
  • Hurricanes cause
    • flooding
    • coastal erosion
  • Volcanic eruptions cause
    • lahars (catastrophic floods laden with ashy mud)
    • weather and even climate changes downwind
natural hazard linkages1
Natural Hazard Linkages
  • Hurricanes (Katrina)
    • high winds damage property and harm people directly
    • flooding that follows storm does more damage, for which landowners may not be insured
    • coastal flooding is linked to other coastal processes
    • tropical storm intensity may increase in warmer climate due to sea surface temperatures
  • Earthquakes (Pakistan) and Volcanoes (Nevado del Ruiz)
    • represent plate tectonic movements and in turn trigger landslides, floods, tsunamis,....
natural service functions
Natural Service Functions
  • "Ecosystem" services are benefits to humankind which result from resources and processes supplied by natural ecosystems:
    • provisioning such as production of food and water
    • regulatingsuch as control of climate and disease
    • supporting such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination
    • cultural such as spiritual and recreational benefits
    • preserving such as maintenance of biodiversity
  • Natural Service Functions of Natural Hazards are discussed in each chapter of your textbook (Sections 2.7, 3.5, 4.5, etc...)
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