M5 Assignment 2: LASA 2: Monitoring Our Home Planet
Contemporary Applications of the Sciences SCI215 A02
Debris scattered for blocks and even miles around, unrecognizable houses and
businesses, trees pulled out from the roots, and vehicles and personal belongings thrown through
the air like baseballs. This would be the aftermath caused by a natural phenomenon. A natural
phenomenon is an observable event that is not man made. Natural phenomenon’s come in all
types and forms such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis
amongst a many others. Natural phenomenon’s and disasters are not subject to one place leaving
humans vulnerable and only to be prepared in case a natural disaster were to hit their place of
living. We are blessed to have such advancement in technology and communications making it
easier to share and transmit information fast and up to date. We may look at these named
phenomenon’s as some of the deadliest natural disasters on our planet, but if we look closely at
all natural phenomenon’s and disasters the deadliest are those that we cannot predict or be
According to the LiveScience (2016) web site droughts, floods and fires are killing more
American’s than any other natural disaster. This being because many of the other natural
phenomenon’s have great advancement in technology, monitoring and prediction systems.
This allowing people to be warned in advance before the phenomenon may hit their area,
leaving droughts, floods and fires death tolls on the rise.
Drought happens over a prolonged period of time of abnormally low rainfall and a
shortage of water results from this. As many of us may already know drought may threaten much
of the globe within the next few decades due to global warming. The United States, Latin
America, large portions of Mexico, Brazil, Southwest Asia, border regions of the Mediterranean
Sea, and much of Africa are some of the countries that are at high risk of extreme drought by the
2030’s. (Hosansky & Smith, 2010-2016) Today there are many different resources that are used
to monitor and predict droughts one resource used to monitor and predict droughts is the Global
Intergraded Drought Monitoring and Prediction System. The GIDMaPS is one of the first multi
model global monitoring and prediction systems that provides near real time drought
information. No particular recourses are allocated toward monitoring drought but climate
changes have brought conscious to the people of our home planet and are forming proactive
organizations such as Go Green to form conscious of the use of biodegradable products and the
use of recyclable products. Today the invention of hybrid cars has been another great way of
saving our planet and help in the prevention of global warming.
Today’s technology is more advanced than ever before. Satellite and computers are used
to monitor droughts and it’s progression as time goes by. Computers and satellite allow us to see
exactly what regions are under drought and how sever the drought is. A country that is well
prepared when it comes to natural disaster will not only save many human lives but also lots of
money. When a natural disaster hits an area the U.S. has resources like FEMA and Red Cross
that help with money, food, and shelter to help those affected by the disaster to live and to
rebuild what the lost in the disaster. This is why our country must be politically ready for any
natural disaster. Countries that are less developed in technology and resources should seek help
form countries that are more developed to avoid death tolls and destruction in case an
unpredictable disaster were to occur. Technology today is not cheap but I am sure that it is worth
the expense because would help save the lived of many people compared to those countries that
do not have the money or the technology in the monitoring and prediction of droughts and other
I do believe that a few decades from today not only our country but many other countries
will suffer from the natural phenomenon of drought. It is proven global warming is a big
problem all over the world. Mountain peaks are less white, glaciers are melting, and drought
conditions are growing all over our planet. Although global warming is a big problem in our
planet, scientists in the United States have produced some of the most sophisticated tools to
monitor and predict drought. Resource planners and policymakers rely mainly on the U.S.
Drought Monitor, on online map of dryness that has been updated weekly since it was unveiled
in 2000 by the Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), and the NDMC. The monitor combines several mathematical indices
calculated by feeding computer models with temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture data.
The physical data comes from NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites and on-the-ground temperature,
rain, and snow gauges. Thanks to technology, close monitoring through computers and satellites,
and centers like the Nation Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska we can see how server the
drought is getting and build conscious and take measures on this matter on this cause and
hopefully avoid a natural disaster in the near future. (Patel, 2012)
Moreover, due to the increasing drought conditions, low precipitation levels, lack of soil
moisture, and hotter spring and summer conditions are turning many of our forest into easy fuel
for wild fires. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist (n.d.) wild fires in the Western part
of the United States have been increasing in duration and frequency since the mid 1980’s.
Human activity such as land use, clearing of land, mining, and land development all influence
the likelihood of wild fires. Even though human activity has a big influence on the likelihood of
wild fires there are many areas like The Northern Rockies, nay National State Parks that are
protected from human land use and behaviors and yet are still struck by wild fires. This leaving
the natural climate changes to being a major factor in the increase of wild fires. Helpful
resources such as current weather, soil and vegetation dryness information are the first step to
predicting and preventing wild fires. Federal Emergency Management Agency or better known
as FEMA is a new federal intention to guide disaster preparedness and response across the
nation. (Knowels & Bergey, 2013) Data information coming from satellites and being received
on computers specialist are able to see moisture contents and vegetation greenness and serving as
an early warning system. Computers, weather gages, satellites, and advanced technology and
communication system the monitoring of wild fires saves many lives every year.
Politicians and the government have been more than prepared for any type of natural
disaster. They are prepared with technology, machines, computers, and supplies needed to live
for a long period of time in case a natural disaster were to hit. The U.S. has built damns, walls,
created sturdier and stronger materials, flame proof materials and other new types off resources
to prevent big damages and human loss. Some countries may or may not have the funds available
to as the U.S if a natural disaster such as a wild fire were to occur but I believe that when the
U.S. has the funds to help other countries I believe they should. Politically, there are two things
which usually happen. The governing party of a country acts to aid the affected victims and it
changes the ideologies and views of the citizenry. It also distracts them from any other pressing
issues which the government has been dealing with. To some in politics, they take the cynical
view of a natural disaster being a welcome relief for a government under fire.
Alternatively, the political effects become damaging. If the government doesn’t evacuate people
quickly enough or hasn’t been seen to do enough to stave off a disaster, it could turn people
against them. Luckily we do not have that issue in the U.S.
Furthermore, technology can cause issues such as spying and viruses due to terrorist
attacks from other countries because of hate towards our country and thee need to destroy our
advances in technology. Technology such as satellite monitoring, computer images, and rapid
communication methods when natural disasters like wildfires hit cause a big impact on our
countries economy. This technology helps prevent the loose of properties, lives, and money that
can be wasted to fix any damages caused by wildfires and other natural disasters. I predict as
well as many scientist that the U.S. will continue to suffer from wild fire disaster because of the
change in weather conditions and global warming. Thanks to the newest technology such as
satellites, computers, and fast communication methods we have not much to worry about. People
are warned way in advance about wild fires and are able to grab some small belongings and
leave there homes or place work and save their lives. In some cases even the lives of their
beloved pets and mascots.
Moreover, over the past few years, there has been an increase in the reports of natural
disasters. This is mainly because the global warming issue has sparked a stream of literature,
which analyzes what the effects that could be caused by number of natural disasters. According
to Skidmore and Toya 2012, natural disasters can be any event that is considered catastrophic
which is caused by process in nature around the earth. A natural disaster such as a flood is
formally measured in the degree of lost, such as in the number of lives lost, the economic strain it
has left on the people, and the amount of funds and structure it has put on the population to
rebuild (Toya and Skidmore, 2007). Examples of a non- natural disaster are those occasions that
occur in unpopulated areas that are acted on by a person or thing that is not of nature. Overall in
some way or another, natural disasters cause some type of loss.
Floods are considered to be one of the most common natural disaster in the world and one
the leading causes of fatalities across the world as well. It can be both a temporary and a general
condition that can affect acres of normally dry land area such as homes and ground acres (Toya
and Skidmore, 2007). Typically, anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and
temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are
inundated by water or mudflow (Toya and Skidmore, 2007). Many conditions can result in a
flood: hurricanes, overtopped levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid
accumulation of rainfall.
Risk of catastrophic losses due to flooding is significant given deforestation and the
increasing proximity of large populations to coastal areas, river basins and lakeshores. Generally,
the natural flow of water goes from higher ground to lower ground and when at a rapid speed,
can overflow and flood. This means if there is a higher ground adjacent a lower ground, the
lower ground is a lot more likely to experience floods. Indian, China, and Vietnam are 3 of the
top countries in which flooding accounts for over 80% of their natural disasters. Climate change
is a key factor when a natural disaster is approaching because the climate intensities when floods
are expected to increase due to climate change in many areas (Hochrainer, 2009).
The National Weather Service, in accordance with the Journal of Development
Economics, worked to develop a stream flow monitoring (Noy, 2009). They also planned and
worked on a storm and flood forecasting that can help provide advance notice of predicted
floods. This advanced system is called The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS)
and it communicated information that is detailed and reliable on rivers and stream flows across
the country. People can on online of view the latest on the news and receive flood alerts. With
this in place, people can get advance warning on detail about high water, when and where it will
begin to rise, and giving extra time to take appropriate actions (Noy, 2009).
The impact of floods in around the world in our current economy can be devastating and
draining in terms of funds. While flood situations cannot be entirely prevented, steps can be
taken to prevent or minimize injury and loss and speed the recovery process. Utilizing the proper
technology before, during and after a natural disaster is key in staying safe. Since floods are the
most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters, the best defense against
floods is to seek higher ground for high-value uses while balancing the foreseeable risks with the
benefits of occupying flood hazard zones (Toya and Skidmore, 2007).
Natural disasters come in many types and forms but here in the U.S. we do not have
much to worry about because we have good technology advancements. The technology we have
today in the U.S. allows us to be early warned and early prepared for any natural disaster.
Natural disasters, however powerful and sudden they may be, are not incapable of being guarded
against. The modern technology has given enough gadgets to people for forecasting, and
lessening if not totally preventing heavy damages inflicted upon by the natural disasters. Only
requirement is that people must take interest in getting as much awareness as possible about the
safeguard measures. It is also important to see that we do not contribute to natural disasters by
polluting the environment and by not living in resonance with nature.
Crawford, D. (2015). Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from https://techtransfer.universityofcalifornia.edu/NCD/24849.html
Hochrainer, Stefan (2009) Assessing the Macroeconomic Impacts of Natural Disasters: Are There Any ? , World Bank Policy Research Working Paper # 4968
Hosansky, D., & Smith, J. (2010-2016, October 19). Climate Change: Drought May Threaten Much of Globe Within Decades. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/2904/climate-change-drought-may-threaten-much-globe-within-decades
Is Global Warming Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks? (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/global-warming-and-wildfire.html#.VxWGZDArLIUhttp://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/global-warming-and-wildfire.html#.VxWGZDArLIU
Knowles, S., & Bergey, J. (2013). Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management. Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0074
Noy, Ilan, 2009. The Macroeconomic Consequences of Disasters. Journal of Development Economics, 88(2), 221-231.
Patel, P. (2012, August 13). Predicting the Future of Drought Prediction. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/environment/predicting-the-future-of-drought-prediction
Skidmore, M. and Toya, H (2012). Do natural disasters promote long run growth? Economic Inquiry, 40(4), 664-687.
Toya, H. and Skidmore, M. (2007). Economic development and the impact of natural disasters. Economic Letters, 94, 20-25.
What’s the Deadliest Natural Phenomenon? (2013-2016, January 13). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://www.livescience.com/32410-whats-the-deadliest-natural-phenomenon.html
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