How can we better predict and prepare for future natural disasters?

2023 © Wikiask
Main topic: Science
Other topics: Natural disasters
Short answer:
  • To better predict: we can use technology and analyze data trends to predict where and when natural disasters are most likely to happen.
  • To better prepare: having insurance plans, emergency supplies, and knowledge of handling disasters.
Natural Disasters

Forecasting natural hazards is a complicated subject, but the aim is straightforward; to determine when and where the next natural disaster will strike. It applies whether the natural hazard is a landslide, earthquake, hurricane, flood, or tornado. Researchers examine a mind-boggling variety of data continuously streamed from the sky, ocean, and land and aggregated by various technologies, ranging from drones to satellites. The development of Doppler radar provided meteorologists with new abilities to "read" the air and fundamentally altered how they predicted hurricanes and tornadoes.[1]

A new age of natural hazard forecasting is about to begin. Thanks to improved simulation models and equipment, as well as recent studies into the geophysical and atmospheric dynamics.[2]

Scientists make use of Seismographic Networks to Predict earthquakes[edit]

Seismologists now have a better understanding of the activity occurring under the surface of the earth because of recent improvements to the Global Seismographic Network. Real-time monitoring is provided by instruments that are deployed in specific locations.[3]

2010 Chile earthquake - Building destroyed in Concepción

According to Arthur Lerner-Lam, the deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University; incredible progress in the development and deployment of instruments on active fault zones has uncovered a fine-grained, high-resolution study of where earthquakes occur. "Active fault zones" refers to areas that are prone to earthquakes. "The earth relaxing thereafter, and the strain building up again — that whole sequence is being pulled apart by modern instruments and gives a much better knowledge of the complete earthquake cycle."[4]

“Drop, Cover and Hold On” is the key preparation to deal with an earthquake

  • DROP down to the ground and get on your hands and knees. This shields you from falling and allows you to move about if necessary.
  • Ensure that your head and neck are COVERED (or your entire body if possible) behind a strong table or desk.
  • DO NOT LET GO of your shelter (or the posture you have taken to shield your head and neck) until there is no longer any shaking. If the vibration causes your protection to move, protect yourself by going along with it.[5]

Also, Include protection against earthquakes in your property insurance policy.

Scientists are using computer models and landslide simulators to predict the landslides[edit]

The concept of landslides is one of the natural risks that are the least understood. Researchers are examining the location of the landslide that occurred in Oso to establish what caused it and then utilize that knowledge to locate additional sites that are vulnerable to landslides.[6] Computer models and landslide simulators, essentially chute-like contraptions into which researchers release torrents of mud, water, and debris, provide them with fresh insights into the complex processes that lead to slope failure.[7]

Landslide in Cusco, Peru - 2018

Staying away from the slide area is the most important precaution during and after a landslide

Below are the precautions to take when encountering a landslide

  • Keep a safe distance from the slide area. There is a possibility that subsequent slides will provide a risk.
  • Tune into the radio or television channels in your area to get the most up-to-date information on the emergency.
  • Keep an eye out for floods because landslides and debris flows may have been triggered by the same environmental factors.
  • Check for anybody who may be hurt or trapped near the slide, but do not approach the area directly around the slide. Give directions to those trying to help find them.
  • Permit qualified inspectors to immediately examine the building's foundation, chimney, and the surrounding area for signs of deterioration.[8]

Scientists are making use of seismic sensing to detect volcanic activities[edit]

Pucón, 2019 (01), Volcán Villarrica

Since the beginning of volcano monitoring one hundred years ago, scientists have made significant progress in comprehending the behavior of volcanoes, particularly in the most recent years. It is primarily due to developments in seismic sensing and new methods for detecting volcanic activity.[9]

One such way is called infrasound, which entails listening to seismic vibrations emitting into the atmosphere. This approach is being used by Jeff Johnson, a volcanologist at Boise State University in Idaho. He is using it to interpret activity at the Villarrica volcano in Chile.[10]

Assemble emergency kits and create appropriate evacuation plans to prepare in case of a volcanic eruption

Also, take care of the below points

  • Prepare for a home evacuation plan that takes your pets into account.
  • Ensure that every family member knows how to get back in contact with one another if you get separated during an emergency.[11]

Meteorologists use weather data to make predictions about thunderstorms and tornadoes[edit]

To accurately forecast the behavior of weather systems, meteorologists rely on various meteorological data, including air pressure, wind speed, and temperature. Because of this, severe thunderstorms that have the potential to produce tornadoes may be projected, and as a result, people are sometimes allowed to be better prepared for a tornadic occurrence by seeking shelter and stocking up on supplies.[12][13]

Tornadoes are known to wreak immense havoc and may reach wind speeds of over 100 miles per hour. They are most abundant in the central United States, in a region known as "tornado alley.[14]

Tornade Sonnac

Shut off utilities to your building and be in a safe room to ensure maximum protection from tornado damage

Meteorologists are using Coyote drones to forecast Hurricanes[edit]

Now that meteorologists can predict hurricanes two to six days in advance, towns have more time to evacuate before the storm arrives. The Coyote drone, which weighs 7 pounds and is a crewless aerial vehicle loaded with GPS and sensors, is one of the most significant advancements in recent years. After being dropped from an airplane, it makes its way into the center of a hurricane at a leisurely pace, while sending real-time data to the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This data assists scientists in analyzing activities in the core of a storm that is in the process of forming.[15][16]


  1. "NWS JetStream - How does Doppler radar work?". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  2. "Earthquake Prediction". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  3. "Seismometers, seismographs, seismograms - what's the difference? How do they work? | U.S. Geological Survey". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  4. "How We'll Predict the Next Natural Disaster | Columbia University School of Professional Studies". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  5. "Step 5: Drop, Cover, and Hold on". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  6. "Revisiting the Oso Landslide | U.S. Geological Survey". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  7. Ma, Zhengjing; Mei, Gang; Piccialli, Francesco (2021-09-01). "Machine learning for landslides prevention: a survey". Neural Computing and Applications. 33 (17): 10881–10907. doi:10.1007/s00521-020-05529-8. ISSN 1433-3058.
  8. "Landslides & Debris Flow |". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  9. Ishii, Faith (2016-04-05). "Sound Waves Help Scientists Track Volcanic Eruptions". Eos. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  10. Sciences, College of Arts and; Robbins, Pam (2015-04-27). "Boise State Geologist Jeffrey Johnson reports on Volcano". College of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  11. "Preparing for a Volcanic Eruption | Volcanoes". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  12. "Forecasting Thunderstorms". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  13. "tornado - Prediction and detection of tornadoes | Britannica". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  14. "Where Tornadoes Happen | Center for Science Education". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  15. "Hurricane-inspecting Coyote drone flies right into the eye of the storm". New Atlas. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  16. Kingson, Andrew Freedman,Jennifer A. (2022-10-17). "Drones and satellites are making better, life-saving hurricane forecasts". Axios. Retrieved 2022-11-02.