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An introduction to the study of natural hazards on the Earth, at various different spatial and temporal scales, their impact on human populations and principles of planning, response and mitigation. The course will cover hazards of geological and meteorological origin, as well as major global catastrophes such as those that may be produced by climate change and large impact events. Topics to be covered include: Earthquakes and their consequences; Tsunamis and other coastal hazards; Volcanoes and volcanic eruptions; Land instability and mass movements; Flooding and flood hazards, Drought and bushfire hazards; Tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and tornadoes; Extraterrestrial impacts and mass extinction events; Climate change and its implications for human populations; Managing and reducing the risks from natural hazards. At the end of this subject, students will have acquired: an understanding of the nature and causes of natural hazards, their distribution and predictability; a knowledge of how natural disasters impact on human populations and activities, and the kinds of responses that are possible; an appreciation of what can be done to manage and minimise the dangers posed by natural disasters.
Intended learning outcomes
The subject aims to introduce students to the nature and causes of various natural hazards, and to consider ways in which these impact on human populations, as well as how, through appropriate planning and management strategies, these effects can be understood, predicted, avoided and mitigated. The subject maintains a balance between understanding the phenomena involved and managing their effects.
At the completion of this subject students should be able to:
- analyse and interpret natural phenomena
- critically evaluate responses to actual disasters
- assess appropriate strategies for dealing with natural disasters
- research complex events in an interdisciplinary context
- contribute constructively to group projects
- understand basic principles of risk analysis
- communicate results of their work to a wider group
Last updated: 14 May 2021