Natural Hazards Observer

January 2005
Volume XXIX | Number 3

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Below are brief descriptions of a sampling of recent publications on hazards and disasters received by the Natural Hazards Center. Information on how to obtain copies is included.

All HazardsWeatherCoastal ManagementEarthquakes and Volcanoes
Climate Change and DroughtDisaster HealthHomeland Security

All Hazards

Preventable Losses: Saving Lives and Property Through Hazard Risk Management: A Comprehensive Risk Management Framework for Europe and Central Asia. Christoph Pusch. Disaster Risk Management Working Paper Series No. 9. 2004. 88 pp. Available free online from the Hazard Management Unit/The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433; (202) 458-4500; e-mail:;
The purpose of this report is to raise awareness and understanding of the vulnerability of countries in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region to natural hazards and to provide a strategic, proactive framework for mitigation and prevention. Focusing on earthquakes, floods, and landslides, the report is based on an initial quantitative risk assessment of each country; develops a comprehensive hazard risk management framework; shares lessons learned from other countries; and recommends priority actions for each country in the region.

Risk Analysis for Extreme Events: Economic Incentives for Reducing Future Losses. Howard Kunreuther, Robert Meyer, and Christophe Van den Bulte. NIST GCR 04-871. 2004. 103 pp. Free. Available online from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Office of Applied Economics, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8603, Gaithersburg, MD 20899; fax: (301) 975-5337;
This report discusses the need for linking risk assessment, risk perception, and risk management in order to develop meaningful strategies for dealing with extreme events (i.e., low probability-high consequence events). Cases where extreme events exhibit interdependencies, either among individual stakeholders or among stakeholder groups, are given special attention. Special attention is also given to the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors with the ultimate goal of generating sound strategies for reducing the risks of extreme events and reducing the damage should such catastrophes occur.

Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster. Fourth Edition. Keith Smith. ISBN 0-415-31804-1. 2004. 324 pp. $38.95. Available from Taylor & Francis Customer Service, Customer Services, 10650 Toebben Drive, Independence, KY 41051; (800) 634-7064; e-mail:;
This completely revised edition blends physical and social science to provide a balanced, contemporary introduction to major natural events, technological accidents, and aspects of global environmental change that threaten humans and what they value. Part I broadly discusses hazard identification and common disaster-reducing strategies. Part II examines individual threats and the extent to which existing losses to life and property are preventable.

2004 NEMA Biennial Report: Organizations, Operations, and Funding for State Emergency Management and Homeland Security. ISBN 0-87292-820-9. 2004. 55 pp. $35.00. Available from the National Emergency Management Association, PO Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578; (859) 244-8000;
As part of a continuing effort by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) to promote greater recognition of the states’ commitment to emergency management, public safety, and homeland security, this report examines funding, spending, organizational, and operational issues for state-level emergency management during fiscal year 2003. It discusses how, in this new era of disaster management, states are adjusting to the need to balance their new homeland security responsibilities with the ongoing threat of natural disasters in a system of all-hazards preparedness.

2004 World Disasters Report: Focus on Community Resilience. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ISBN 92-9139-108-5. 2004. 240 pp. $25.00. Available from Kumarian Press, 1294 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield; CT 06002: (860) 243-2098, (800) 289-2664; e-mail:;
Published annually since 1993, this report brings together the latest trends, facts, and analyses of contemporary crises—whether natural or human-made, quick-onset or chronic. The 2004 report highlights the importance of building capacity and resilience to bounce back from a disaster. Features include a general discussion about helping communities cope with crisis, the danger of heat waves, harnessing local capacities in rural India, lessons learned from the Bam earthquake, building community resilience to disaster in the Philippines, and surviving in the slums.

San Diego Regional Fire Prevention and Emergency Preparedness Task Force. Bill Kolender and Jeff Bowman. 2004. 73 pp. Available free online from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, 1010 2nd Avenue, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 533-4300; e-mail:;
The San Diego Regional Emergency Preparedness Task Force was established following the 2003 wildland fires to provide a forum so that representatives of all public safety disciplines could review, discuss, and develop proposals for all-risk emergency preparedness in the San Diego region. This report examines the issues discussed by the task force, specifically as they related to preparedness, resource use, and regulatory measures, and makes recommendations designed to serve as action items that can be implemented and measured for effectiveness.

Natural Disasters. Patrick L. Abbott. Fourth Edition. ISBN 0-07-292198-6. 2004. 480 pp. $84.06. Available from the McGraw-Hill Companies, Order Services, PO Box 182604, Columbus, OH 43272; (877) 833-5524; e-mail:;
As evidenced by its title, this textbook focuses on natural disasters. Particular attention is paid to the themes of energy sources underlying disasters; plate tectonics and climate change; earth processes operating in rock, water, and atmosphere; significance of geologic time; and the complexities of multiple variables operating simultaneously. Supplemental materials are available for both students and instructors.

The following two publications are available from Jane’s Information Group, 110 North Royal Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 683-3700, (800) 824-0768; e-mail:;

    Jane’s School Safety Handbook. Mike Dorn, Greg Thomas, Marleen Wong, Sonayia Shepherd, James Kelly, and Ronald Stephens. Second Edition. ISBN 0-7106-2658-4. 2004. 331 pp. $35.00. This quick reference guide for those involved in school safety planning, preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery provides information in a format that facilitates training or dealing with emergencies as they occur.

    Jane’s Safe Schools Planning Guide for All Hazards. Mike Dorn, Greg Thomas, Marleen Wong, and Sonayia Shepherd. ISBN 0-7106-2659-2. 2004. 450 pp. $99.00. This guide is a reference for school planners tasked with designing, implementing, and maintaining a safe school plan.


Hurricane Isabel, September 18-19, 2003. Service Assessment. 2004. 54 pp. Free. Available from the National Weather Service, 1325 East-West Highway, W/OS52, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 713-0090; e-mail:;
Hurricane Isabel is considered one of the most significant tropical cyclones to affect northeast North Carolina, east central Virginia, and the Chesapeake and Potomac regions since Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane of 1933. This report examines the warning and forecast services provided to emergency managers, government agencies, and the public as they related to Hurricane Isabel.

A Recommendation for an Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale). James R. McDonald and Kishor C. Mehta. 2004. 95 pp. Available free online from the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-1023; (806) 742-3476, (888) 946-3287; e-mail:;
In an effort to address the limitations of the currently employed Fujita Scale in rating tornado intensity, the authors of this paper propose an Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Skywatch West: The Complete Weather Guide. Richard A. Keen. Revised Edition. ISBN 1-55591-297-4. 2004. 263 pp. $24.95. Available from Fulcrum Publishing, 16100 Table Mountain Parkway, Suite 300, Golden, CO 80403; (303) 277-1623; e-mail:;
Written for the casual weather observer as well as seasoned experts, this guide explains the wide variety of weather experienced in the western United States and Canada and offers practical advice, such as how to read clouds, build a home weather station, and avoid being struck by lightning.

Weather Extremes of the West. Tye W. Parzybok. ISBN 0-87842-473-3. 2005. 288 pp. $24.00. Available from Mountain Press Publishing, PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806; (406) 728-1900, (800) 234-5308;
Also written for the professional or the weather junkie, this book highlights and explains the West’s most interesting, extreme, unique, and historic weather- and climate-related phenomena in easily understood prose, with photographs, figures, and satellite images. Broken down by region, it features weather events from the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast.

Northeast Snowstorms. Volume I: Overview, Volume II: The Cases. Paul J. Kocin and Louis W. Uccellini. Meteorological Monograph Series, Vol. 30, No. 54. ISBN 1-878220-64-0. 2004. 818 pp. $95.00. Available from the American Meteorological Society, Order Department, 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108; (617) 227-2426 x204 or x237; e-mail:;
In view of the continuing need to improve our understanding of snowstorm systems, this two-volume set provides an analysis of the horizontal and vertical structures and evolution of many of the most crippling snowstorms to affect the heavily populated Northeast region during the twentieth century. These snowstorms are examined from historical, climatological, synoptic, and dynamic perspectives. The set includes a wealth of photographs, color figures, and a DVD of additional material.

Coastal Management

GIS for Coastal Zone Management. Darius Bartlett and Jennifer Smith, editors. ISBN 0-415-31972-2. 2004. 344 pp. $89.95. Available from CRC Press, 2000 NW Corporate Boulevard, Boca Raton, FL 33431; (561) 994-0555, (800) 272-7737; e-mail:,
Supplying the guidance necessary to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS), this book explores key technical, theoretical, and applications issues. Specifically, it reviews recent developments in the use of GIS technologies in coastal environments and emphasizes the changing role of GIS/remote sensing in integrated coastal zone management. It also showcases information systems that integrate a human component, focus on sustainable development, or incorporate change and uncertainty with a holistic approach.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Living With Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest: A Survivor’s Guide. Robert S. Yeats. Second Edition. ISBN 0-87071-024-9. 2004. 400 pp. $29.95. Available from the University of Arizona Press, 355 South Euclid Avenue, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85719; (520) 626-4218, (800) 426-3797; e-mail:;
Originally published in 1998, this expanded and revised edition describes the threat posed by the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs from British Columbia to northern California. In so doing, the author, who hopes this book will serve as a “call-to-action,” combines research with safety information. Specifically, the book introduces new information about threats to major Northwest cities; explores a variety of earthquake topics, such as forecasting, catastrophe insurance, tsunamis, and soil liquefaction; reviews earthquake preparedness and response following the Nisqually earthquake in 2001; and suggests actions that citizens can take to protect their families and homes.

Rising Fire: Volcanoes and Our Inner Lives. John Calderazzo. ISBN 1-59228-389-6. 2004. 268 pp. $22.95. Available from Globe Pequot Press, 246 Goose Lane, PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437; (203) 458-4500, (888) 249-7586; e-mail:;
Written by a teacher of creative writing with a passion for volcanoes, this book, which is part history and part travelog, recounts famous eruptions and visits seven of today’s greatest volcanoes, profiling the people who live in their shadows and the scientists who study them.


Large Fire Suppression Costs: Strategies for Cost Management. 2004. 59 pp. Available free online at
In response to widespread perceptions by Congress, agencies, and the public that fire suppression costs have escalated to an unreasonable level, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council chartered the Strategic Issues Panel on Fire Suppression Costs to explore specific strategic issues associated with large fire costs. This report features the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Climate Change and Drought

Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Susan Joy Hassol. ISBN 0-521-61778-2. 2004. 140 pp. $24.99. Available from Cambridge University Press, 100 Brook Hill Drive, West Nyack, NY 10994; (845) 353-7500; e-mail:; Download a free copy at
Written in plain language for the sake of accessibility, this report synthesizes the key findings of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment called for by the Arctic Council (a ministerial intergovernmental forum comprised of eight nations, including the United States, and six indigenous peoples organizations) and the International Arctic Science Committee (an international scientific organization appointed by 18 national academies of science) to evaluate Arctic climate change and its impacts for the region and the world. Results indicate that the Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously believed and increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to make it warmer still. This Arctic warming, the report suggests, will have major impacts on global warming and rising sea levels.

The following two reports were prepared for and are available from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 550, Arlington, VA 22201; (703) 516-4146;

    Observed Impacts of Global Climate Change in the U.S. Camille Parmesan and Hector Galbraith. 2004. 55 pp. Free. This report assesses evidence that ecosystems are changing due to climate change and provides insights into what this means for the future. A broad range of ecological changes are reviewed along with their implications and actions that can be taken to better manage U.S. natural resources to minimize the effects of climate change.

    Induced Technological Change and Climate Policy. Lawrence H. Goulder. 2004. 38 pp. Free. This report explores how climate policy can induce technological change and examines the implications of such change on the effective design of climate policy. It concludes that both policies that boost technological innovation as well as those that limit emissions are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions most cost-effectively.

Up in Smoke? Threats from, and Responses to, the Impact of Global Warming on Human Development. Andrew Simms, John Magrath, and Hannah Reid. ISBN 1-899407-92-8. 2004. 37 pp. £10.00. Available free online from the New Economics Foundation, 3 Jonathan Street, London, SE11 5NH, UK; +44 (0) 7820 6300; e-mail:;
The result of a coming together of leading environmental and development organizations, this report expresses a common concern about the threats that global warming poses to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction and serves as a call for action to governments. It contends that global warming is already happening and that it is hitting poor communities and vulnerable ecosystems.

Beyond Drought: People, Policy, and Perspectives. Linda Courtenay Botterill and Melanie Fisher, editors. ISBN 0 643 06954 2. 2003. 248 pp. $36.00. Published by CSIRO Publishing (Australia). Available from Antipodes Books & Beyond, 9707 Fairway Avenue, Silver Spring, MD; (301) 602-9519; e-mail:;
Drought in Australia is the central theme of this book that provides a multidisciplinary discussion aimed at increasing the level of understanding of drought’s many facets and its impact on the environment, communities, and the economy of Australia. It introduces a range of perspectives in order to emphasize the complexity of drought policy and cuts through the often emotional debate that occurs during a drought event, aiming to stimulate reasoned discussion about the best way that Australian farmers and the broader community can live with Australia’s unpredictable climate.

Disaster Health

Disaster Mental Health Services. Diane Myers and David F. Wee. ISBN 1-58391-064-6. 2004. 288 pp. $24.95. Available from Brunner-Routledge, 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016; (800) 634-7064;
This book is designed to help mental health professionals and other responders apply their existing mental health knowledge and skills to the unique, complex, chaotic, and highly political circumstances that emerge in the wake of a disaster. The authors present their comprehensive model of disaster mental health service delivery, which includes consultation, outreach, debriefing and defusing, education, and crisis counseling (CODE-C) and is flexible and adaptive to any disaster situation. The three parts of this book cover the central conceptual issues and knowledge foundation of disaster mental health, basic disaster mental health services for citizens and stress management for disaster mental health workers, and some of the newest issues and challenges facing disaster mental health workers and traumatologists.

Floods, Health, and Climate Change: A Strategic Review. Roger Few, Mike Ahern, Franziska Matthies, and Sari Kovats. Working Paper 63. 2004. 138 pp. Available free online from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Zuckerman Institute for Connective Environmental Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK; +44 (0) 1603 593900; e-mail:;
Given the prospect that flood hazards may increase as a result of climate change, the objectives of this report are to present findings from a review of global literature on health impacts, adaptation processes, and policies relating to flood risk; make a critical assessment of the existing knowledge base and identify key opportunities and challenges for intervention and research; and assess the implications of climate change and future flood risk for health impacts, adaptation processes, and policies.

Medical Surge Capacity and Capability: A Management System for Integrating Medical and Health Resources During Large-Scale Emergencies. 2004. 238 pp. Available free online from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20201; (202) 401-5840;
This handbook describes a management methodology, which is consistent with the National Incident Management System, based on principles of emergency management and the incident management system (IMS) to address surge capacity and capability needs that may arise in an emergency. Medical and health systems may apply these principles to coordinate effectively with one another and to integrate with response organizations that have established IMS and emergency management systems (fire service, law enforcement, etc.), promoting a common management system for all response entities.

Homeland Security

Introduction to Homeland Security. Jane A. Bullock, George, D. Haddow, Damon Coppola, Erdem Ergin, Lissa Westerman, and Sarp Yeletaysi. ISBN 0-7506-7787-2. 2004. 552 pp. $69.95. Available from Elsevier, Order Fulfillment, 11830 Westline Industrial Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146; (800) 545-2522; e-mail:;
In response to the government reorganization that resulted in the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, this book was written to provide educators, students, and practitioners with a comprehensive account of past and present homeland security practices, policies, and programs and prepare them to engage in actions to help make their communities safer and more secure. Chapters include a historic overview of the terrorist threat, statutory authority, organizational actions, hazards, safety and security, mitigation and preparedness, response and recovery, communications, technology, and the future of homeland security. Case studies and appendices round out the text.

CDC Releases Public Health
Emergency Response Guide

State, local, and tribal public health departments play an extremely important role in all-hazards emergency preparedness and response. Public health professionals within these departments should have immediate access to guidance and information that will assist them in rapidly establishing priorities and undertaking necessary actions during the response to an emergency or disaster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Environmental Public Health Readiness branch has developed an all-hazards public health emergency response guide to address this need.

The Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors (2004, 60 pp., free) is an all-hazards reference tool for health professionals who are responsible for initiating the public health response during the first 24 hours (i.e., the acute phase) of an emergency or disaster. It provides useful information on the activation and integration of a jurisdiction’s public health system into the existing overall emergency response structure during the acute phase of an incident. It also contains guidance that may be unique to specific types of incidents, such as floods, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism.

The guide is not a substitute for emergency preparedness activities and is not intended to replace existing emergency operations plans, procedures, or guidelines within a jurisdiction’s health department. It is consistent with the doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes in the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System.

Download the guide at For more information, contact Martin A. Kalis at (770) 488-4568 or Gary Rhyne at (770) 488-7104 or e-mail A pocket-sized field version of the guide is scheduled to be released in January 2005.

New Center: El Centro de
Investigación de Riesgos

El Centro de Investigación de Riesgos (Risk Research Center) was established in 2004 at the Universidad de Falcón in Venezuela by a group of Venezuelan professionals with experience in different aspects of disaster management, crisis management, environmental studies, and contingency planning. Center objectives include:

  • Natural, technological, and human-induced disaster research;
  • Preparation of environmental studies and research of environmental and ecological crises;
  • Preparation of communities to face disasters and crises by means of adequate information and public awareness programs;
  • Preparation of contingency plans for communities and industrial facilities; and
  • Education and training of students in crisis management and disaster risk reduction.

For more information about the center, contact Juan Murria at or visit the Web site (in Spanish only) at

ICC and IBHS Join to Improve
Disaster-Related Building Codes

ICC and IBHS representatives working together

The International Code Council (ICC) and the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) have signed a strategic alliance agreement to work together on the research, development, adoption, and enforcement of building codes that address disaster-resistant residential and commercial construction. One of the first collaborative efforts will be the analysis of construction performance in Florida following this year’s active hurricane season to determine the effectiveness of the state’s building codes in high wind events. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Florida Department of Community Affairs will also participate in this process. Upon completion of the analysis, a summit meeting of public and private sector representatives will be held to begin developing plans to strengthen existing codes and standards.

More information is available through the ICC, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, VA 22041; (703) 931-4533; or the IBHS, 4775 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33617; (813) 286-3400; e-mail:;

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