AGU: Disaster Days

A speaker in the U13 session declined to list numbers for how many people were killed, buildings destroyed, or damage caused by his particular hazard, pointing out that every scientist seems to claim their disaster is the deadliest. Where I claim landslide deaths are under-counted as they often get lumped in with the triggering event (landslides associated with earthquakes, eruptions, severe weather…), last night’s Frontiers of Geophysics lecture linked disaster after disaster as a consequence of extreme weather (floods, droughts, landslides, water-borne pollutants…), or amplified by adverse weather (preventing Eyjafjallajökull ash from dispersing). We wouldn’t work on something we didn’t find important, but I am amused by the obviousness of our filters.

The Frontiers of Geophysics lecture on the state of hazard prediction focused on how we use deterministic models in prediction and the need to accept inherent uncertainties (in the science and models) to move to a more probabilistic approach, and on the benefits of linking multi (temporal and spacial) scale models in forecasting.

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