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With reference to a range of hazards, assess the success of prediction techniques in minimising their impacts on people

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Introduction

With reference to a range of hazards, assess the success of prediction techniques in minimising their impacts on people A hazard is a natural process that directly affects man, or mans property; it often involves a high amount of danger and can be life threatening however, one way we can override the impacts of hazards is by predicting what damage will occur. To predict a hazard means to 'make a statement about the future'. The problem with prediction is that it does not help to avert the hazard although it does assist to prepare an area and to help ensure that people, property and areas are safe. By effectively predicting a hazard, a management technique can be enforced to minimise the impact on people. Impacts can range from destruction of property right up to mass death and prediction is often vital in reducing the impact hazards have. Some hazards generally have more impacts on people than others, and Meteorological impacts are the most damaging. Other than drought, they have caused the largest amounts of deaths worldwide. The effects of meteorological hazards, including hurricanes cause widespread damage to property, communications and loss of life especially around the tropics where hurricanes mostly occur. Tectonic hazards also cause mass destruction along plate boundaries. ...read more.

Middle

However, this technique is not always reliable and the assumption of random occurrence with time may not be true. For example four magnitude 6.8 and larger earthquakes occurred in the San Francisco Bay during the 75 years between 1836 and 1911. For the next 68 years no earthquakes with the magnitude of 6 or larger took place in the region. Scientific understanding of earthquakes is of vital importance to the world. As the population increases, expanding urban development and construction works encroach upon areas susceptible to earthquakes. With a greater understanding of the causes and effects of earthquakes, we may be able to reduce damage and loss of life from this destructive phenomenon. Another tectonic hazard that impacts humans is volcanoes. Extremely high temperatures and pressure cause rock to melt below the earth's thin layer of outer crust thus becoming magma (a liquid form of rock). When a large amount of lava has formed it rises through the denser rock layers towards the earth's surface; this is what forms a volcano. However, it is not just the lava that damages areas and impacts humans, volcanoes have many other secondary affects such as, clouds of ash, glowing avalanches, and mud and debris flow. Scientists can often find clues about volcanoes by past eruptions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Drought is a 'creeping' hazard and is brought about in the opposite way to flooding, where there is a lack of water. Experts monitor precipitation, climate conditions, and population growth. Both droughts and flooding are long going processes and are fairly easy to predict. In MEDCs they are also fairly easy to treat, for example when flooding takes place, such as the intense flooding in York, sandbags are used to try and create a wall on the flood plain. Also pumps are used to draw water off fields and lands. In LEDCs these hazards tends to be a lot more serious and more threatening to man. Conclusively prediction is very difficult due to the fact that hazards are a natural phenomenon, most hazards are never 100% predictable. Floods and droughts are probably the most predictable because they are a long process and visually it is obvious to see when they will occur. However, hazards such as hurricanes are much more difficult to predict and that is why they cause so much damage when they occur because often areas are unprepared. In general hazards that occur in LEDCs have much more of an impact on people for many reasons lack of prediction obviously is one of these. For example 20% of the world volcanoes are being monitored and the majority of these are MEDCs. Avalanches are also very difficult to predict and they involve a very detailed understanding of the physics again this is something LEDCs will lack. ...read more.

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