Superstorm Sandy is merely the most recent high-impact weather event to raise concerns about extreme weather events becoming more frequent or more severe. Previous examples include the western European heatwave of 2003, the Russian heatwave and the Pakistan floods of 2010, and the Texas heatwave of 2011. However, it remains an open question to what extent such events may be “attributed” to human influences such as increasing greenhouse gases. One way to answer this question is to run climate models under two scenarios, one including all the anthropogenic forcing factors (in particular, greenhouse gases) while the other is run only including the natural forcings (e.g. solar fluctuations) or control runs with no forcings at all. Based on the climate model runs, probabilities of the extreme event of interest may be computed under both scenarios, followed by the risk ratio or the “fraction of attributable risk”, which has become popular in the climatology community as a measure of the human influence on extreme events. This talk will discuss statistical approaches to these quantities, including the use of extreme value theory as a method of quantifying the risk of extreme events, and Bayesian hierarchical models for combining the results of different climate models. This is joint work with Xuan Li (UNC) and Michael Wehner (Lawrence Berkeley Lab). Event flyer.
Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, can disrupt how healthcare services are delivered by damaging the infrastructure they depend on. Natural disasters can force hospitals to evacuate. However, evacuation is not without risk. At this seminar, E²SHI Fellow Meghan McGinty will discuss how decisions to either evacuate hospitals or shelter-in-place (continue serving patients on site) were made during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – and what we can learn from this experience to better prepare for future extreme weather events.
Presenter: Meghan McGinty is a PhD candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on public health emergency preparedness and response, disaster resilience, and climate change. She is a 2013-14 E2SHI Fellowship recipient. Learn more about Meghan’s research
Tsunami & Geodisasters: A Decade of Lifeline Engineering
The rise of mega-disasters this century prompted development of engineering solutions for community and infrastructure resilience. ASCE 7-16 will include a new Chapter 6 Tsunami Loads and Effects, drawn from context of the 2011 Japan Tohoku Tsunami and resulting Fukushima Plant disaster. Chapter 6 is a bottom up state of the art design methodology focused on loss drivers, contrasting with other hazard provisions revised ad-hoc over several decades. The tsunami hazards awakening from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, claiming nearly 300,000 fatalities, brought attention to need for broad disaster preparedness of vulnerable populations. In the Post 9-11 Security environment, it pushed efforts to develop methods for all-hazards community and infrastructure resilience using multi-faceted research, performance based engineering and improved standards and building codes. Tsunami and other understudied hazards are advancing now with relatively low cost digitized maps, lidar and geospatial tools used for rapid exposure screening, loss modeling and engagement by the insurance and business supply chain industry. The experience from tsunami, and its seismic and flood components is a useful context for understanding disaster resilience using a lifeline infrastructure engineering framework, to help communities identify and prioritize diverse needs. Recent initiatives include the UN Disaster Resilience Scorecard developed by IBM and AECOM in 2014, and the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division launched earlier this year. Both support the 2015 UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development ratified one month ago in New York for guiding actions over the next 15 years.
Speaker: Mathew Francis, Infrastructure Resilience Manager, AECOM Technology Corporation