Disaster Management Theme

NOAA Center for Tsunami Research graphics displays forecast results, showing qualitative and quantitative information about the tsunami, including tsunami wave interaction with ocean floor bathymetric features, and neighboring coastlines. Tsunami model amplitude information is shown color-coded according to the scale bar.

Guest Editor
Sérgio Freire
New University of Lisbon, e‐GEO, Geography & Regional Planning Research Center, PORTUGALAssociate Editor for Disasters
Biswajeet Pradhan
University Putra Malaysia, Institute of Advanced Technology, MALAYSIA

Deputy Editor‐in‐Chief
Christoph Aubrecht

Articles published for Earthzine’s Disaster Management theme (Dec. 21, 2010-March 20, 2011) address efforts to improve the understanding and management of natural and human‐induced disasters, from the factors at inception to the process of recovery and rehabilitation.

The number and impact of disasters has been rising in recent decades; it is anticipated that such events will continue to increase in the future. At the same time, there has been greater attention and investment to expand human, institutional, and Earth Observation capabilities to better manage and minimize effects of disasters on life and living conditions.

These articles incorporate in situ, airborne, and space-based observations that contribute to our understanding of disasters across all scales, from their causes to their consequences. The information is of value for use in the planning, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery stages of disaster management.

Theme Articles

Mechanical Model for Nigerian Intraplate Earth Tremors

Map of Nigerian tectonic platesAn examination of Earth tremors in Nigeria shows activity mostly along northwest-southeast lines. This is contrary to earlier theories that the tremors occurred in the inland extension of the northeast-southwest oceanic faults.

Eze et al., posted on May 17th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation



Geological Hazards and Monitoring at the Azores (Portugal)

Map showing seismic events related to the 2005 Sao Miguel volcanic unrest.The Azores archipelago (Portugal) is subject to several geological hazards, including earthquakes and volcanic activity. In response, the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Risks Assessment (CVARG), developed a monitoring network which uses geophysical, geodetic, geochemical and meteorological techniques to provide continuous monitoring and early warning.

Gaspar et al., posted on April 12th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation



NASA Imagery Aids Japanese Response to Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Events

MODIS imagery of the Sendai regionImaging instruments ASTER, MODIS and MISR, all a part of NASA’s Terra space platform, each offer a unique view of Japan’s disaster zone. Together, these views produce complementary multispectral and multiangular sets of data valuable for evaluating damage and planning for reconstruction.

Lisa Rudy, posted on March 28th, 2011
Disaster Management, Earth Observation



Limit Equilibrium Analysis and Real-Time Monitoring as Support for Landslide Risk Mitigation: The San Rocco Case Study at San Benedetto Ullano (Calabria)

Figure showing location of the study area.The Italian government declared a state of emergency following landslides in 2008-2010. Case studies of these landslides, and a related landslide stability model, can be used by the Authority of Civil Protection and other experts for managing future risks.

Iovine et al., posted on March 26th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation



Analyzing the Resilience of Mediterranean Forest Systems to Wildfire Using Satellite Imagery

Cropped image of a mixed forest in PortugalIn Portugal, the fire season of 2003 was the worst on record. Satellite imagery was used to study the post-fire vegetation response. The results contribute to our understanding of the impact of management strategies and can ultimately improve allocation of firefighting resources.

Patrícia Malico Alexandre, posted on March 24th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Ecosystems

Remote Sensing Based Post-Disaster Damage Mapping – Ready for a Collaborative Approach?

Example damage maps of parts of Port-au-Prince (Haiti) following the 2010 earthquake.Experts and laypersons worked together to map structural damage from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Official and open-access mapping technologies can assist in managing the aftermath of natural disasters, but standards are needed.

Norman Kerle, posted on March 23rd, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation

GEO Monitors, Analyzes, and Distributes Data on the Japan Disaster

Satellite imagery of the Japanese earthquakeInternational Earth observation agencies are cooperating in the creation of online resources to aid rescue efforts and advance scientific understanding in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Available visualization products relate to a range of issues, including historic and present seismic activity, landslides, deformation areas, floating objects and more.

Michael Williams, posted on March 23rd, 2011
Disaster Management, Earth Observation, GEOSS/ICEO News

Post Disaster Management, Poverty and Food

Illustration of famine relief being handed out in India 1877India is a country that faces food scarcity issues and is vulnerable to disasters brought about by tropical cyclones and tidal surges. Global warming threatens to exacerbate both of these issues, and proper planning is needed to help decrease these threats to India and its people.

Gargh Shankar, posted on March 22nd, 2011
Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Health



Volcanic Crisis Management and Mitigation Strategies: A Multi-Risk Framework Case Study

Detail of Vesuvius Red Zone: Impact of pre-event seismic actions on evacuation roads practicability.The volcanic hazard can involve a sequence of disastrous events, leading to cascading effects in multiple systems. An effective Disaster Operations Management tool should be focused on a dynamic evolution of risk, in order to minimize physical and economic losses.

Giulio Zuccaro and Mattia Leone, posted on March 21st, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation



Is ‘Flood Risk Management’ Identical to ‘Flood Disaster Management’?

Cropped disaster management wheelThe terms of risk and disaster are often confused when it comes to natural hazards like floods. Flemish and European Union authorities each have methods and directives for managing such situations.

Vanneuville et al., posted on March 21st, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Water

Haiti Earthquake: Harmonizing post-event distributed data processing

Cropped ESRI map showing the regions that would be good locations for a refugee camp as polygons that are portrayed in one of the integrated clientsFollowing the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, a testbed was developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium to distribute data and provide tools for analysis and decision-making. The context and results of this testbed are relevant for the management of future post-crisis disaster events.

Masó et al., posted on March 18th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Technology

Optimizing Tsunami Evacuation Plans Through the Use of Damage Scenarios

Map of the maximum sea elevation computed for the Catania area. It shows a small difference between the maximum inundation line (for the worst-case scenario) and the black-lined inundation boundary according to an aggregated scenario (from [Tinti et al., 2011])Research done as part of the European SCHEMA project suggests that creation of hazard and damage scenarios may save lives during disasters caused by tsunami waves. These scenarios can help identify suitable vertical shelters and escape routes and even estimate expected accumulation of debris.

Scheer et al., posted on March 16th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management

UN-SPIDER: Supporting Disaster Management from Space

UNOOSA logoUN-SPIDER brings together experts to improve access to space-based information. Recent disasters such as those in Haiti and Pakistan demonstrate the value of up-to-date satellite data, and how it can be used beforehand to reduce impacts to people on the ground.

Natalie Epler and Michael Leitgab, posted on March 9th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Technology

Drought Assessment in Tel Watershed: An Integrated Approach Using Run Analysis and SPI

Image of dry, cracked earth. Credit UN Photo/Evan SchneiderWhat’s the difference between drought duration and magnitude, and what methods can be used to plan for dry periods in drought-stricken areas? This paper analyzes research done in the Tel watershed of Odisha, India.

S. Sangita Mishra and R. Nagarajan, posted on March 7th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Ecosystems

Earth Observation Based Assessment of Area Changes Related to Hurricane Events – The Dauphin Island DEVELOP Case Study

Map of Alabama and Mississippi with inset of Dauphin islandsUsing sophisticated Earth observation tools, a group of students from the NASA DEVELOP internship program find that hurricanes and other severe coastal storms can greatly accelerate the erosion and shoreline change of a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.

White et al., posted on March 6th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Ecosystems

Satellite-Based Crisis Information and Risk Assessment: Contributions Following the Earthquake in W. Sumatra and the Mentawai Tsunami

Cropped ZKI Crisis mapWhen a disaster occurs, rapid mapping activities using satellite data can provide valuable information to support emergency response actions. Such was the case recently when severe earthquake and tsunami events hit Sumatra, prompting the contribution from the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information, a service of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Stephanie Wegscheider & Joachim Post, posted on March 2nd, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation

Disaster Preparedness in the Water Sector of Developing Countries

Figure showing the location of Tanzanian Floods, January 2010When natural disasters hit developing countries, lack of clean water can lead to a health crisis. Instead of responding after the fact, it may be more effective to prepare local communities by providing them with water sanitation kits (WatSan-Kits), along with training in their use.

Markus Enenkel, posted on January 28th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, OpEd, Water

North Carolina Coastal Management: Satellite Monitoring of Coastal Wetland and Shoreline Changes in Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, North Carolina

Normalized Digitized Vegetation Index image for portion of Tyrrell County showing green color as least vegetated; grey as greatest, red colors indicate intermediate levels of chlorophyll and Gold-colored outlines show NCDCM locations of wetlands.This article focuses on a NASA Applied Sciences National DEVELOP assistance to the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (NCDCM) with the assessment of coastline changes and habitat loss in coastal wetlands utilizing satellite remote sensing. The Hyde, Tyrrell, and Dare counties in eastern North Carolina occupy the coastlines of the Albemarle and Pamlico Sound estuaries. The Pamlico Sound is the largest estuarine lagoon along the East coast of the United States.

Johnson et al., posted on January 27th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Ecosystems, Oceans



Gulf of Mexico Air Quality: CALIPSO Decision Support for Gulf of Mexico Air Quality Relating to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Image 3: NEW ORLEANS – Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors April 21, 2010. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Eleven crew members died.(100421-G- XXXXL- 003 U.S. Coast Guard photo)This article explains the methodology developed by one NASA Applied Sciences DEVELOP team to investigate the use of the CALIPSO lidar (CALIOP) level 2 version 3.01 night-time aerosol products and the HYSPLIT model to monitor aerosols and dispersants over the ocean resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20, 2010.

Nguyen et al., posted on January 4th, 2011
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation, Energy



From Preparation to Response: Coastal Decision Support during the Caribbean Hurricane Season 2010 with RADARSAT-2

Illustration of a regional RADARSAT-2 Fine mode change detection image map of the Spanish Town area of Jamaica.This article outlines on-going activities involving Canadian RADARSAT as well as other EO satellite data acquisitions to-date over selected Caribbean sites in British Virgin Islands (BVI), Grenada, Jamaica and St. Lucia that are engaged in coastal disaster management and emergency response. It highlights some image maps and information products that were produced as part of several trials during the 2010 hurricane season. From this trial phase, the participants expect constructive feedback and further improvements, particularly with regard to operational usefulness of detailed EO satellite data.

Aube et al., posted on December 28th, 2010
Articles, Disaster Management, Earth Observation

Call for Papers – Disaster Management

NASA Satellite Imagery Keeping Eye on the Gulf Oil Spill. On April 29, the MODIS image on the Terra satellite captured a wide-view natural-color image of the oil slick just off the Louisiana coast. The oil slick appears as dull gray interlocking comma shapes, one opaque and the other nearly transparent. Sunglint -- the mirror-like reflection of the sun off the water -- enhances the oil slick’s visibility. The northwestern tip of the oil slick almost touches the Mississippi Delta. Credit: NASA/EarthEarthzine Issues Call for Papers on Disaster Management 21 December 2010 – 20 March 2011.Theme issue focuses on improving our understanding and management of natural and human-induced disasters, from the factors at their inception to the process of recovery and rehabilitation.

Sérgio Freire, Biswajeet Pradhan, and Christoph Aubrecht, posted on December 10th, 2010
Announcements, Disaster Management


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