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With reference to either tectonic or climatic hazards, explain why a knowledge of physical processes is essential to understand their impact on people.

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Introduction

With reference to either tectonic or climatic hazards, explain why a knowledge of physical processes is essential to understand their impact on people I am choosing to study climatic hazards, I will use two case studies to evaluate how differing knowledge of hurricane processes affects the impact they have on the population. Climatic hazards are caused by fluctuations in the atmospheric conditions. They are among the most serious hazards as they are often long-lasting and the effects, widespread. Climatic hazards include droughts, floods and hurricanes, but I will be looking in detail at the latter. Hurricanes begin as tropical depressions, then as winds are rotated and an area of low pressure is formulated in the centre, it develops into a tropical storm. Finally it develops into a hurricane when the winds exceed 74 mph. Warm moist air is needed for a hurricane to form, so sea temperatures of around 27�C or above are the optimum conditions for hurricane formation. The moisture powers convection and condensation. The warm air rises and as it rises it cools releasing latent heat energy used later for condensation. ...read more.

Middle

maize, which made up the staple diet of their populations. Many of these crops were flooded or destroyed by the deposition of sediment (alluvium). This product dependency was the cause of massive food supply and economic problems. Diseases such as cholera were widespread as the people sheltered in overcrowded places affected by flooding. Communications were down as power was out and most transport routes were cut of by floods, so many were cut off from aid and information on the flooding could not be passed on. This hurricane was predicted days before it made landfall, but people were either not warned, or didn't have knowledge of how to respond to such warnings. The countries did not have the infrastructure to cope, or the disaster management plans in place to evacuate those at risk. A small number of last minute evacuations took place in Nicaragua after the government sent out warnings, but they and other governments were working out disaster management plans together as the disaster was unfolding. ...read more.

Conclusion

So in summary of the two case studies; Mitch hit an economically poor area, where there was great dependency on agriculture and little resources or education on hurricanes. Hurricane Floyd hit an MEDC (More Economically Developed Country) where they were well equipped to deal with the threat and where the public were well aware of the dangers. A knowledge of physical processes means that the impact of the hazard can be predicted, the necessary precautions can be taken to protect the public and they can be educated in what to do when a climatic hazard occurs, plans can be made for aid, this all leads to a reduced impact on people. Honduras is till recovering from it's ordeal but has learned, at great cost, from it's mistakes. They now have disaster plans ready and the public are becoming increasing aware and educated of the threat from hurricanes. The USA now has more data to add to it's collection and has a greater understanding of hurricanes. We are learning all the time from the hazards. ...read more.

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