EEAS05 LEC 1.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Environmental Science
Mandy Meriano

HAZARDS AND LOSS OF LIFE More then 1M people have died worldwide from env hazards since 1947 The dealiest hazards are earthquakes and hurricanes Population density and quality of infrastructure are key determinants in numbers of death THE GREAT SUMATRAN ANDAMAN EARTHQUAKE Seismic stations around the world recorded the effects of the earthquake of December 26, 2004 This earthquake released as much energy as every earthquake on earth between 1976 and 1990 combined The earthquake triggered a series of waves, called tsunami, which killed over 250,000 people HAZARDS AND THEIR COSTS Economic losses due to natural disasters have grown exponentially since the 1950's The most expensive disasters occur in the US TYPICAL ENV HAZARDS The classical hazards include… Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, tornados, hurricanes, erosion, bolide impact Risk assessment: we will learn how to tell whether we are about to but or rent a house QUESTIONS ABOUT HAZARDS Is the distribution of natural hazards random? Its hard to predict a natural hazard If we can predict something, it is because we understand the situation there SOME IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS Hazard: naturally occuring, effects on human interests Risk: probability of event occurring multiplied by impact on people and property Disasters: effect of hazard on society (property damage, injury, loss of life) Catastrophe: massive disaster HAZARDS AND CATASTROPHES A lot more of the smaller events compared to the bigger events You don’t necessarily loose more lives with the higher catastrophe events Loss of life is more when the potential is moderate MAGNITUDE AND FREQUENCY OF HAZARDOUS EVENTS Impact: function of magnitude and frequency Also influenced by other factors (climate, geology…) Magnitude- frequency concept: inverse relationship between magnitude and frequency M=Fe-x History of an area gives clues to potential hazards: maps, historical accounts, climate… HAZARDS What makes people continue to live in areas with well known hazards? the hazard may actually provide a benefit (eg rich soils near volcanoes and on floodplains) unknown liabilities if gov’t forces people to move increases population pressure means more people are living in dangerous areas often there is lack of understanding of the geological history
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