G10 Integrated Humanities: Geography
14 May 2018
Essay on Hazards
“Scientific and technical innovation has mitigated more than worsened the impacts of hazards on human societies. Discuss.”
Scientific and technical innovation has moderately mitigated the impacts of hazards on human societies. In geographical terms, the word hazard can be defined as catastrophic and natural disasters. The scientific and technological innovation has greatly advanced and this could lead to a safer human society. Examples of scientific innovations that have mitigated the impacts of hazards are: Forecast (Scientific and calculated predictions), Architectural Innovations and Air Force Hurricane Hunters. All these scientific and technical innovation can mitigate the impacts of natural disasters such as Tropical Cyclones (Hurricanes) and Earthquakes.
Forecast is used synonymously with prediction at some times. Forecasting is the most effective way to mitigate the impacts of most hazards. Forecasting is when scientists make scientific observations to predict a natural disaster. Thus, giving citizens and federal staffs more time to prepare or even better, evacuate. This is the most effective method to mitigate the impacts caused by some hazards, this is seen when Hurricane Katrina struck. The preparation for Hurricane Katrina was not effective and due to this, a lot of lives were lost. Hurricane Katrina struck southeastern United States in August 2009. The damage caused by Hurricane Katrina is significant and is considered as the “costliest Hurricane” in the United States, the damage costs approximately 106 billion dollars (Britannica, 2005). On the other hand, according to Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, Hurricane Ike didn’t amass a large number of deaths because citizens had the chance to evacuate ahead of time. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore was a commander of a Joint Task Force Katrina. He was in charge of coordinating military personnel across the Gulf Coast region because Hurricane Katrina heavily impacted Gulf Coast region (Corey McKenna, 2009). Lt. Gen. Russel Honore believed that Hurricane Katrina was not planned effectively, thus leading to the death of more than 1800 people. He compared Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike, in contrast to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike only killed fewer than 80 people because they were warned and had the chance to evacuate early and safely. Though, this source may have limitations, as the speaker is a person who was in charge of coordinating the military unit. The speaker is a part of the military coordinators so he could’ve been very pressured at that time. With all the evidence above, forecasting shows that it greatly mitigates the impact of some natural hazards.
The second example where scientific and technological innovation mitigates the impact on hazards could be the architectural methods of Traditional Chinese buildings. Traditional Chinese architectural techniques have significantly decreased the impacts of natural hazards on the Chinese buildings. An example where Chinese architectural innovations mitigate the impacts of natural hazards is the building structure of the Forbidden City. Earthquakes have struck The Forbidden City at least 200 times within 600 years until now. The Forbidden City, also known as the Earthquake proof palace, has survived this long and this much earthquakes only because of the technical innovation behind the architectural design. To the Chinese, The Forbidden City is a very memorable monument. An earthquake is formed because of earth’s constant movements. The crust is broken up into tectonic plates that move in different directions and different speeds. The technology used to mitigate the impacts of the earthquake, is the structural building itself. The traditional Chinese buildings are built from a lot of materials. Because of the materials used to build these, it makes them vulnerable to some natural hazards but almost indestructible to some. Its vulnerability is fire. Those are the only natural hazards that completely destroyed the Forbidden City. It’s been rebuilt a lot of times after that. The “Earthquake Proof Palace” is made up with mostly timberworks and other famous wood. The roof is a very big roof with a lot of decorations. The building consists of pillars on different sides of the building, these pillars aren’t just for decoration, but they serve as the roof’s supporter. The roof is very big and made up of heavy objects, it’s a miracle compared to western architecture. The secret behind the Forbidden City surviving 200 earthquakes is those pillars. During an experiment conducted by the Forbidden City seismologists, Dr. Joe, conducted experiments on a scaled model to find the secret on how the Forbidden City withstood the previous 200 earthquakes. To be precise with this experiment, the scaled model was made with wood. They simulated quakes from 9.0 to even above the highest recorded earthquake in history. This architectural innovation has proven to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards on human society.
Lastly, an example of a technological advancement that mitigates both the economic costs and impacts on human society is the Air Force Hurricane Hunters. The Air Force Hurricane Hunters is a department of defense that flies into a tropical cyclone to gather information and data. They’re data is a factor that determines how effective preparation for the upcoming natural hazard will end up. Their location is at the Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. This way of Hazard mitigation is significant before “Forecasting Method”. This is the innovation used for a successful forecast. Air force Hurricane Hunters gather data and information on hurricanes. According to Bucky McMahon, a hurricane hunter airplane isn’t bad. He said, “Like combat, flying into a hurricane is 95 percent boredom and 5 percent sheer terror. We just haven’t got to the terror yet”. In 2005, Hurricane Hunters appended an SFMR, formerly known as Stepped Frequency Microwave Radio Meter (Oriana Pawlyk, 2018). The SFMR provides hurricane winds speed to the National Hurricane Center based in Miami. The surface wind speeds are significant the surface wind speeds pioneer the destruction of property and endangers lives (Oriana Pawlyk, 2018). This method of mitigating impacts of natural hazards isn’t as effective as the architectural innovation, but it’s a good start for Forecasting.
The scientific and technological vastly developed compared to the last half-century, it provides unprecedented opportunities for responding to the urgent need to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards. The scientific and technological innovation has greatly advanced and this could lead to a safer society. Examples of scientific innovations that have mitigated the impacts of hazards are: Forecast (Scientific and calculated predictions), Architectural Innovations and Air Force Hurricane Hunters. All these scientific and technical innovation can mitigate the impacts of natural disasters such as Tropical Cyclones (Hurricanes) and Earthquakes. In conclusion, with all the reasons and examples above, I believe scientific and technical Innovation mitigate the impacts of hazards to the human society.
“Technology’s Role in Disaster Mitigation.” Government Technology: State ; Local Government News Articles, 22 May 2009, www.govtech.com/public-safety/Technologys-Role-in-Disaster-Mitigation.html.
McMahon, Bucky. “Into the Eye: What It’s Like to Fly a Plane Into a Hurricane.” Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2017, www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a28118/flying-into-hurricane/.
Pawlyk, Oriana. “Air Force’s ‘Hurricane Hunters’ Now Stalking Irma.” Military.com, CodyUnderwood, www.military.com/daily-news/2017/09/07/air-forces-hurricane-hunters-now-stalking-irma.html.
“Hurricane Katrina Floods the Southeastern United States : Natural Hazards.” earthobservatory.nasa.gov. NASA Earth Observatory, 31 Aug. 2005. Web. 17 May. 2018. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=15427
“Natural Disasters & Assessing Hazards and Risk.” Volcanic Landforms, Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics, www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/Natural_Disasters/introduction.htm.