Natural hazards affect societal infrastructure, the economy, and people’s lives. The prediction of extreme events and the need to increase societal resilience to these events has become a national priority in the aftermath of such events as Hurricanes Katrina, Matthew, Sandy, and Rita; the April 2011 Tornado Super outbreak; the 2016 Louisiana floods; volcanic eruptions such as Mount St. Helens in 1980 as well as seasonal events such as wildfires. The National Science Foundation states: “Natural disasters cause thousands of deaths annually, and in 2013 alone caused over $130 billion in damage worldwide. There is clear societal need to better understand and mitigate the risks posed to the U.S. by natural hazards….” Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 401: “Natural Hazards” is designed to be a primer for students interested in learning to understand the geophysical causes of natural disasters, how predictions are made and communicated to the public, and how society uses these predictions to build resilience and reduce vulnerability.
— This course examines the importance of social factors in the generation and resolution of complex environmental problems with an interdisciplinary perspective. Comparison of specific communities in the more and less developed areas of the world.