Types of Natural Hazards (e.g. Volcanic eruptions, Earthquakes, Floods,Hurricanes,Landslides

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1 Environmental Geology Chapter 5 INTRODUCTION to NATURAL HAZARDS Types of Natural Hazards (e.g. Volcanic eruptions, Earthquakes, Floods,Hurricanes,Landslides Natural Disaster - A particular event in which ANY of the following apply: q 10 or more people are killed; q One hundred or more people are affected; q A declaration of emergency is issued, or q There is a request for international assistance. The occurrences of natural disasters on a world scale are increasing; causing great loss of life and/or property damage. Earthquakes, floods, cyclones (hurricanes) have killed several million people, with an average worldwide annual loss of life of about 150,000 people. The Annual average property damage exceeds $50 billion. Impact risks depend on the nature of hazards, spatial and temporal relations to human environment. Natural processes become hazardous when: people live or work in areas where they occur, land- use changes, such as urbanization or deforestation, there is poor environmental planning: Simply not to build on floodplains, earthquake prone areas, and more energy resources are consumed and climate changes. Hazard Magnitude and Frequency Magnitude: Intensity of a natural hazard in terms of the amount of energy released Frequency: Recurrence interval of a disastrous event Magnitude and Frequency: Generally an inverse relation between them (greater magnitude=less frequent) More damages associated with hazards of moderate frequency and magnitudes Magnitude, Frequency, and Impact Risk Magnitude and Frequency: Largely controlled by natural factors Impact risk: Controlled by both natural and human factors Low magnitude and high frequency hazards not always destructive, a high magnitude one almost certainly catastrophic Commonly, most impact risks from natural processes of moderate magnitude and moderate frequency Mixed Blessings of Natural Hazards Not all hazardous processes exert harmful or deadly consequences Benefits: Creating new land, supplying nutrients to soil, flushing away pollutants, changing local landscape (examples: deposition of new soil/sediment by a flood, rivers dammed by landslides create new lakes, volcanic eruptions produce new land & and soil nutrients)

2 Death and damages: Great loss of human life and grave damages to property More life loss from a major natural disaster in a developing country; more property damage occurs in a more developed country Catastrophic Potential of Hazards: Catastrophes are disastrous situations requiring a long process to recovery from grave damages. Annual loss of life from natural hazards in the U.S. (Table 5.1 in your textbook) Most lives lost each year in the U.S. from tornados & windstorms Hazard Evaluation Principles Most natural hazards: Identified and studied using the scientific method and predictable from scientific evaluation Risk analysis: A critical component in understanding impacts Different hazards are linked Hazardous events are repetitive Importance of hazard planning and hazard mitigation Hazard Evaluation: Done by studying historic information and the linkages between events/hazards. Study historic data: Hazards are repetitive events Ø Occurrence and recurrence intervals Ø Location and effects of past hazards Ø Observations of present conditions Ø Measuring the changes or rates of change Ø Historic trends of hazards Studying linkages: Spatial and temporal links Ø Linkages between adjacent locations Ø Linkages between past, present, and future conditions Ø Linkages between hazards (e.g., volcano and mudflow, hurricanes produce coastal flooding and erosion, earthquakes produce landslides and tsunamis) Ø Geologic setting and hazards, e.g., rock fractures and landslides Disaster Forecast, Prediction, and Warning Forecast: The certainty of the event is given as the percent chance of happening Prediction: Sometimes possible to accurately predict when, where, type and size of the certain natural hazardous events Warning: A hazardous event has been predicted or a forecast has been made, the public must be warned Disaster Prediction and Warning Identifying the locations of a potential hazard (e.g. global scale earthquakes and volcanic activity high potential at plate boundaries)

3 Determining the probabilities of a hazardous event at a given magnitude Observing precursor events or signs Forecasting the hazard Warning the public Case History: Hurricane Katrina - Made Landfall in August 29, 2005 to the east of New Orleans Storm Surge: 3 to 6 m (9 to 20 ft) Diameter of serious damage path: About 160 km (100 mi) 80 percent of New Orleans under water Official number of deaths: 1,836 Property damages: Tens of billions Estimated costs for recovering and rebuilding: hundreds of billions Two levees capped with walls collapsed separating Lake Ponchartrain (connected to the Gulf of Mexico) from New Orleans Another levee failed separating the city from the Gulf of Mexico Regional subsidence: 1 to 4 m (3 to 12 ft) per 100 yrs Sea level rise: 20 cm (8 in.) last 100 yrs due to global warming and extraction of GW, oil and gas Geographic location: Vulnerable to hurricanes, storms, and inland floods Aware of risks and warnings in place Insufficient funds for monitoring and maintaining the levee and floodwalls Poor coordination in initial emergency response efforts Rebuild: Better design and planning, better technology and knowledge, broader awareness Risk Assessment Risk determination Ø Type, location, probability, consequences Ø Risk estimate: Product of probability and consequences Risk Threshold: Acceptable risks Ø Put probability and consequences into perspective Ø Society s perception and willingness Limitation and potential of risk assessment Risk Impact: Hazardous Earth processes and risk impact statistics for the past two decades Annual loss of life: About 150,000 Financial loss: > $50 billion More life loss from a major natural disaster in a developing country (e.g., 2010 Haiti earthquake, ~200,000 people lost) More property damage occurs in a more developed country

4 Risk impact estimate To human life: Potential loss and injury of life To property: Damage and destruction To society: Services and functions of society To economy: Manufacture, mining, commercial, real estate, etc. To natural environment: Direct or indirect adverse impact Human Response to Hazards: Reactive and Anticipatory Reactive response Ø Primarily after the hazardous event Ø Recovery phases: Response, rescue, restoration, and reconstruction Ø Recovery period: Recovery length depending on the magnitude of hazard and impact intensity > Hurricane Katrina and Indonesian tsunami recoveries ongoing for years Reactive response and recovery priority Ø Critical needs: Emergency operations, critical infrastructure, hospitals, shelter, food, and water supply Ø Essential functions: Transportation, communication, education, and other services Ø Improvement and development: Rebuild damaged structures and develop better structures Anticipatory Response (Adjustments): Response to a hazardous event with an intention to avoid or minimize its damages Ø Land- use planning (where you can build) Ø Building codes (How to build- e.g. materials) Ø Insurance > Required in dangerous locations > High rates in particularly bad locations > May be unavailable/can t build in particularly bad areas Ø Evacuation plans Ø Disaster awareness and preparedness (training/drills) Ø Artificial controls (e.g. sea walls, levees etc.) All adjustments involve significant costs in time, manpower, and money Balance between preparation costs and the costs of clean- up/recovery afterward General response in a given location Ø Combination of reactive and anticipatory response Ø Artificial control of natural processes

5 Ø Taking no or little action, being optimistic about chances of making it through disasters Land use planning in Rapid City, South Dakota after flooding in 1972 resulted in creation of green belt and relocation of residential areas outside the flood plain Direct Impacts of Disasters on the Population People killed, injured, or displaced Property damage or destruction Infrastructure damage/loss of communication, utility services, and transportation systems Indirect Effects of Disasters on the Population Emotional distress Donation of money, goods, and labor Paying taxes to finance recovery Perception of Hazards Societal perception of hazards is critically important More aware of hazards that occur often (once per decade or more) Often choose to just bear consequences of infrequent hazards (once every few decades to a century or more), without significant preparations Total risk associated with an event is product of event s probability and the likely consequences should it actually occur Population increase and increased use of marginal or hazardous lands necessitates increased land- use planning and disaster preparedness or natural catastrophes become increasingly common Living in hazardous areas, such as floodplains, is not a sustainable practice because loss of life and property will continue to occur Nevado del Ruiz Volcano Columbia - A story of people, land use and volcanic eruption Eruption in 1845 mudflow kills 1,000 Produces rich soils for farming By people live nearby in Armero November 1985 Eruption produces mudflows that kill The real tragedy one month before hazard map circulated and town warned of potential disaster Global Climate and Hazards: Worldwide- Severe weather hazards are increasing (global warming?) Population Growth and Natural Hazards In question: Population growth as a cause for natural disasters Under debate: Population as a direct trigger for some natural disasters, e.g., floods, landslides In certainty: Population growing into danger zones, e.g., floodplains

6 Trying: Artificially controlling some natural hazards Increase in population puts a greater number of people at risk Asia suffered the greatest losses from 1985 to 1997, with 77 percent of the total deaths and 45 percent of the economic losses Deadly catastrophes resulting from natural hazards linked to changes in land use, Hurricane Mitch in 1998, flooding of the Yangtze River in 1998, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 Number of natural disasters increasing worldwide. Hazardous events that were previously disasters are now catastrophes due to increased human population and poor land use practices WSE 8/2012

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