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Natural Disasters: Key Concepts in Studying Natural Hazards

Provides methods of finding information on such natural disasters as volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, severe weather, and shows how to tap into the worldwide movement to mitigate the severity of disasters and build disaster-resilient communities.

The Big Questions

Principal question in studying natural hazards and disasters:

  • What hazards exist in an area and which one is under consideration?

When studying any disaster, there are three key questions to ask and one related question:

  • When?
  • Where?
  • How big?
  • And the related question -- How often?

And the big question:  Is it predictable?

Approaches to Studying Natural Hazards and Disasters

When examining natural hazards, several approaches should be used:

  • Science -- what is it, how does it work, in terms of geology, meteorology, physics, chemistry?
  • Scientific method -- hypotheses are tested.
  • History -- Written, documented record.
  • Instrumental record (directly measured record).
  • Scientific record.
  • Maps and images:  when studying natural disasters, a picture often is worth a thousand words!

Flood Recurrence Interval