Bob Ryan, chief meteorologist for WRC-TV in Washington, DC and former President of the American Meteorological Society, gave a keynote presentation on how technologies such as satellite systems and Doppler radar have improved our forecasting capabilities.
On June 7, IRIS joined the American Geophysical Union and the American Geological Institute in sponsoring a symposium on "Real-time Monitoring and Warning for Natural Hazards". The meeting was part of the series Public Private Partnerships 2000 (PPP-2000): Forums on Public Policy Issues in Natural Disaster Reduction developed by the National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Natural Hazards Reduction and the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Seismologists, volcanologists, hydrologists, and atmospheric scientists, joined emergency managers, engineers, insurers, and legislators for a full day of discussions about opportunities to mitigate hazards through real-time warning systems. Bob Ryan, chief meteorologist for WRC-TV in Washington, DC and former President of the American Meteorological Society, gave a keynote presentation on how technologies such as satellite systems and Doppler radar have improved our forecasting capabilities. Representatives from the scientific community assessed emerging technologies. Emergency managers discussed how new warning systems were being implemented to save lives and prevent property loss.
Although emerging sensor systems and new communication networks hold great promise for informing the public of natural hazards, information by itself is not adequate. Furthermore, just because people are informed and know the risk does not mean that they will always act rationally.
The combination of scientists and policy makers was reflected in the discussions that followed such questions as not only "Are there technologies we have not implemented?, but also "How do we produce information so that the end-user will take action?" Strong incentives are needed to encourage mitigation against low probability, high-cost events, especially in market places where time frames are measured in quarters of a year. Accordingly, much of the focus of the PPP-2000 forums is designed to instill hazards mitigation as a national value. More information about the Forums on Public Policy Issues in Natural Disaster Reduction can be found at the web site: www.usgs.gov/ppp2000/
The TriNet system being installed throughout southern California by California Institute of Technology and the USGS was presented as an example of real-time application in earthquake hazards. This map of ground-shaking intensity for the Northridge earthquake took several weeks to generate. TriNet will provide ground-shaking maps for emergency response within minutes of an earthquake to direct emergency response and to provide rapid regional damage assessments. (Figure courtesy of TriNet)