What are the future possibilities for lessening human vulnerability to geophysical hazards?
- Global geophysical hazard and disaster trends and future projections, including event frequency and population growth estimates
- Geophysical hazard adaptation through increased government planning (land use zoning) and personal resilience (increased preparedness, use of insurance and adoption of new technology)
- Pre-event management strategies for mass movement (to include slope stabilization), earthquakes and tsunami (to include building design, tsunami defences), volcanoes (to include GPS crater monitoring and lava diversions)
- Post-event management strategies (rescue, rehabilitation, reconstruction), to include the enhanced use of communications technologies to map hazards/disasters, locate survivors and promote continuing human development
Thursday 29 February 2024
Trends in Geophysical Hazards
Enquiry Question: Are geophysical hazards increasing?
- To describe the trends and future projections of global geophysical hazards and disasters, including event frequency and population growth estimates.
Starter: Group Discussion. Based on the graphic below…
- What are the underlying causes of the increase in the number of natural disasters?
- Make a prediction for the future. Explain your answer
- What are the underlying causes of the decrease in reported deaths.
- Make a prediction for the future. Explain your answer
- What other variable should be included
- Make a prediction for the future. Explain your answer
Lesson 1. Geophysical Hazard Trends (Google Doc)
Use the Google Doc linked above for the next two tasks.
Task 1. Describe the key trends of the graphic that you have been assigned. Then share your findings with the rest of the group and note down the findings from their graphic.
Task 2. Answer the following question based on the graphics you have just discussed.
Describe the global geophysical hazard and disaster trends (event frequency, hazard type, deaths) and how these trends may be affected by future population growth trends. Ensure that your response refers to data from the above graphics, and to the following ideas:
- Human activity
- Population size and location
- Why are more frequent disasters not necessarily the most costly?
- What is the correlation between disaster cost and:
- urbanization and the growth of megacities
- population growth
- the growing middle class
Monday 04 March 2024
Starter: Find an appropriate map or graph that shows a current trend/pattern in geophysical hazards. The map or graph cannot be one that I used in the lesson last week! A good place to start would be to follow this link below:
Once you have found your map or graph, create three 1-3 mark questions (with answers) that can you can ask the rest of the class.
Predicting and Forecasting Geophysical Hazards
Predictions are used to provide pricise statements on the time, place and size of a future geophysical hazard event. They are generally considered impossible in terms of exact precision. The scientific community is not in a position to say that at 15.03 this afternoon there will be an earthquake of 7.6, 224km off the coast of country X. Neither can they say that there will be a volcanic eruption at 06:00 on the 17th January on Mount Y. However, the scientific community can suggest probabilities (forecasting) of events such as an earthquake of magnitude 7-8 is likely to hit a 200km fault section in the next 50 years. This process of using probablity depends on how well we understand fault or magma processes at a given location. A good example can be developed for California. Scientists estimate there is a 76% probability that a magnitude 7 earthquake will occur within the next 30 years in northern California. The probability is 75% for southern California.
Scientists use a range of sophisticated tools to monitor fault dynamics. This data can then be modelled in different ways to hlep forecast the likely magnitude, location and timing of an event as well as predict the surface affects of seismic waves. Such methods include:
- small scale ground-surface changes including subsidance and uplift (David)
- changes in rock stress and clusters of pre-shocks (Hannah)
- changes in levels of radon gas (Julia)
- anomolies in the earth’s magnetic field (David)
- changes in the electrical resistivity of rock (Hannah)
Task 1. Research the method above that you have been assigned and explain how it works. Share your findings with the rest of the group.
- Gas (Hannah)
- Remote sensing – thermal imagery and cameras (David)
- Remote sensing – Satellites (David)
- Deformation (Julia)
- Ground Vibration (Julia)
Task 2. Research the method above that you have been assigned and explain how it works. Share your findings with the rest of the group.
Thursday 07 March 2024
Geophysical Hazard Adaptation
How can governments plan better to protect communities?
Starter: Study the following three images and for each image suggest reasons why people may be exposed to greater risk to earthquakes. Use only words beginning with the highlighted letters
Task 1. Three ways that governments can plan better to help communities are:
- Landuse zoning
- Effective Insurance
- Use of technology
Study the resources below on zoning, insurance and technology to identify how levels of adaption and personal resilience can be improved. Complete the note taking worksheet beneath to show the main features of each strategy as well as their likely successes in countries at different levels of economic development.
Lesson 3. Adaptation and Resilience Strategies (Google Doc)
Pre-Event Management Strategies
The ability of authorities to prepare for geophysical hazards closely depends on the resources available to them. Therefore developed countries are much better placed in terms of economic resources to build capacity for preparation. Less developed countries struggle with often more pressing challenges such as health care provision, poverty reduction and concerns relating to economic stability.
The more authorities can do to prepare for hazards the more resilient their population and economy will be. Preparation comes in many forms including technology approaches. Sound maps provide insight into how geophysical hazards will impact the local geography. These maps alongside sophisticated computer modelling provided focused localized knowledge. With sophisticated use of GPS, satellite imagery, radar as well as seismic and geodetic instruments authorities are improving early warning systems. Local populations empowered with knowledge can take precaution to build resilience in their community and homes; retrofit houses and buildings and improve their insurance against financial losses. Local authorities develop sophisticated awareness campaigns to increase perception of risk and educate their communities on the actions required to save lives before, during and following a hazard.
Below, you will see a resources ‘wall’ for geophysical hazard pre-event management strategies for mass movement (to include slope stabilization), earthquakes and tsunami (to include building design, tsunami defences), volcanoes (to include GPS crater monitoring and lava diversions).
Task 2. Decide amongst yourselves which method you would like to investigate. Each person will take one of the methods. Use the resources hyperlinked on the worksheet below as well as the videos below to complete the tasks set out. Share your information by way of a Google Doc at the end of the lesson.
Lesson 3. Pre-Management Strategies (Google Doc)
Monday 11 March 2024
Post-Event Management Strategies: The 3 R’s
Task 1. You will need the envelopes on the front desk for this task. There is an envelope for each of you.
- Put together the puzzle pieces that show the Hazard Recovery Model.
- Unscramble the anagrams to make up the words of 3 R’s.
- Read the 9 descriptions of the 3 R’s and match them to the appropriate R (there should be three parts for each R).
- Using the information from the descriptions summarise each of the 3 R’s in no more than 50 words. Write these descriptions around your completed puzzle.
What are the 3R’s?
Experience of natural hazards generally involves a series of activities which are inter-related, may overlap in time and may exist for different periods of time in different hazard settings (see above). Whilst precise details of what happens when will depend on the type, magnitude, location and timing of the hazard event, a common pattern can be detected.
Before a hazard event normality prevails, with quality of life for locals, level of economic activity and social cohesion and stability having built up naturally over a period of stability. When the hazard strikes normality is disrupted, often immediately and totally.
The relief or emergency period (phase one of the life-cycle) starts straight away. During the first few hours and days efforts are made to provide food, water, clothing, shelter and medical care to all inhabitants of the affected area, and to stop continued loss and disruption directly related to the event (such as the collapse of damaged buildings, or the spread of fire or infectious disease). The emphasis during the disaster relief phase is on speed and efficiency, and mistakes can be made despite efforts to make rational decisions in the face of panic reactions and lack of time, resources and full information and understanding.
Relief teams from outside the immediate area may arrive to help or organize search, rescue and care operations. Urgent supplies of medical drugs and equipment, rescue equipment, clothing and food may be flown in. International relief agencies such as the Red Cross provide vital logistical, medical and humanitarian support during this critical initial phase of disaster response.
After relief comes the rehabilitation period (phase two), which might last for several weeks or months. Actions are designed to restore physical and community structures to at least a temporary return to normality (Figure 8). Mass shelter is replaced by temporary housing, the injured are transferred from field hospitals to regular hospitals, money and resources are made available to the unemployed and dispossessed. More complex than the relief, rehabilitation requires accurate assessment of needs and carefully co-ordinated planning of responses. The risk of recurrent disasters commonly remains during this phase – if the hazard strikes again, or wider (and less obvious) impacts of the event were not identified and at least partially catered for (such as the spread of infectious disease because of inadequate sanitary provision).
These efforts (phase 2) are normally planned and executed locally. Only in exceptional circumstances are international initiatives involved, like the world-wide Band Aid events to fund rehabilitation during and after the mid-1980s Ethiopian drought. Actions are designed to restore physical and community structures to at least a temporary return to normality:
- Mass shelter is replaced by temporary housing
- The injured are transferred from field hospitals to regular hospitals
- Money and resources are made available to the unemployed and dispossessed.
More complex than the relief, rehabilitation requires accurate assessment of needs and carefully co-ordinated planning of responses. The risk of recurrent disasters commonly remains during this phase – if the hazard strikes again, or wider (and less obvious) impacts of the event were not identified and at least partially catered for (such as the spread of infectious disease because of inadequate sanitary provision).
Through time rehabilitation gives way to reconstruction (phase three), when permanent changes are introduced to restore the quality of life and economic stability to at least its original level, if not to improve on the past by creating better economic opportunities and a higher quality of life. Three criteria dictate the nature of these activities and the speed at which they are carried out:
1. the need to reduce vulnerability
2. the desire to increase self-reliance, and
3. the over-riding goal of restoring normality as quickly as possible.
The speed and efficiency of recovery after disaster varies according to type and magnitude of the hazard event, and availability of contingency planning for disasters. International relief agencies (such as Oxfam and the Red Cross) have accumulated vast expertise in planning, co-ordinating and monitoring recovery activities after disasters, and they have done much to reduce indirect and long-term impacts of hazards and to reduce injury, death, hardship and suffering amongst people in hazard-prone areas.
Mandatory: Complete the ‘Check Your Understanding Questions’ on page 210 and the Exam Practice questions on page 211 for Thursday’s lesson.
Optional: Practical Use of Pre-Management and Post-Management Strategies
- Visit http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/
- Click on ‘Launch Game’
- Click on “Play Game” and choose Tsunami or Earthquake as one of the five disaster types.
- Then choose whether you want to play Easy, Medium or Hard level.
- Read the “Mission Introduction” pop-ups to get a clear idea of your objectives and resources.
- As you start putting in place defences and developments, “Key Fact” boxes will pop up giving you valuable information.
- You should try and save as many people and buildings as possible before the disaster strikes.
You need to complete the following document at various points in the game (before, during and after).
Stop Disasters Game Worksheet (Google Doc)