FESD will support teams of scientists focused on attacking some of the most important scientific challenges of our time. Earth's "systems interact with each other on different scales, linked across space and time," states the GEOVision report. The FESD awards address the need to discover and predict rates of change in these systems by fostering an integrated and multi-scale understanding of Earth's processes and systems; improving data resolution and modeling capabilities to discover and predict how rapidly these processes and systems are changing; and determining how resilient they are to the effects of human activities.
The recent human footprint on Earth has been large. The FESD awards will help discover how large, as measured against naturally-occurring events, how Earth might respond and what actions might be taken now and in the future to help shrink that global footprint. Sun to Ice: Impacts on Earth of Extreme Solar Events Harlan Spence, University of New Hampshire "Sun-to-Ice" researchers are working to understand the chain linking solar energy and particle acceleration on the Sun, with the impact on Earth's atmosphere, chemistry, precipitation and ice chemistry.
Scientists will investigate signals frozen in polar ice to discover the history of the extreme solar events that have affected the planet. The "Sun-to-Ice" project is happening at an opportune moment, with the Solar Maximum in and The benefits it will provide include increasing the predictability of extreme energy from the Sun reaching Earth's atmosphere, and the effects of that energy on Earth, from affecting power grids to creating the aurora borealis and australis. The focus of this project is on coastal science and management, but the research will point the way to parallel developments in other Earth-surface environments.
Electrical Connections and Consequences Within the Earth System Jeffrey Forbes, University of Colorado at Boulder Geoscientists will create a global three-dimensional model that links the electrical processes from Earth's surface with those to an altitude of 1, kilometers. The essential elements, such as source currents and conductivity, will be tracked through observations such as satellite-based measurements of magnetic perturbations, clouds and cloud types, ionosphere parameters and aerosol distributions.
They will serve as a basis for answering questions about electrical pathways in the atmosphere-near-Earth geospace system. Open Earth Systems: Whole Planet Models for Global Processes and Major Events in Earth's History Peter Olson, Johns Hopkins University The goals of this project are to understand how global-scale interactions among the components of the Earth system--the mantle, crust, core, ocean and atmosphere--control the planet's development and to determine what roles these interactions have played in major events in Earth's history.
The investigators will reconstruct mantle convection history that includes major magmatic events and their influence on the ocean-atmosphere system.
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They will examine the implications of mantle convection history for long-term climate change and other cycles critical to the Earth system. Earthquake Fault System Dynamics James Dieterich, University of California-Riverside Geoscientists will characterize interacting plate boundary fault systems in which earthquakes and other modes of fault slip come from wider, Earth-system interactions. The researchers aim to answer three questions: How do the short-term phenomena of earthquake triggering and clustering relate to the long-term recurrence of large earthquakes; how do fault sections with different modes of slip interact prior to and in response to earthquakes; and how are rupture processes and earthquake ground motions affected by other forces?
It will advance understanding of the dynamics and thermal evolution of the Earth, in particular of the global internal processes that drive plate tectonics. CIDER will build upon the recent progress in the quality and quantity of data collected through the construction of state-of-the-art infrastructure in the Earth sciences. Therefore every nuclear plant designs should take into account the resulting effects of this kind of event, including larger tsunamis than before experienced on a specific location chosen for nuclear development;.
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Periodical reevaluation of the nuclear power plant safety standards, depending of construction principle type e. The continuously monitoring of the areas prone to natural hazards, including earthquakes could lead to a better knowledge of the risk evolution of facing a possible disaster, also taking into account other vulnerability factors which can increase the probability of a disaster occurrence.
Being known that many inhabited clusters could be closely located to an active tectonic area, and before some incipient earthquake activity will began, a detailed seismic analysis is necessary in order to detect the possible underground discontinuities. Generally speaking, even without having a historical evidence of earthquakes, worries can be raised regarding the overall seismic activity of a vulnerable area. In term of exposed population or industrial facilities, if an underneath fault is discovered, subsequent measures can be taken leading to a better preparedness activity for a possible earthquake;.
The proper training of the personnel involved in emergency response and relief during natural disaster is essential for a better management of the emergency situations generated by an earthquake.
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Therefore constant simulation and drill exercises should be performed by the specialized personnel in order to be prepared in case of a major earthquake or for the possible forwarding aftershocks. An intense training program for the emergency personnel in the exposed areas should be performed using special trained sniff dogs and adequate equipment for increasing the preparedness capacity. Population should be also involved in the training drills, in order to become aware of the basic rules of survival and for recovery actions, to assure a better cooperation with the local authorities involved in the disaster mitigation activities;.
The damage assessment scenarios for inhabited areas located in tsunami prone areas, on the coastal lines, will re-evaluate the mitigation capabilities in case of a real disaster and lead to a better response of the emergency services;. Countries located in tsunamis vulnerable areas should set their own national tsunami warning system, capable to watch and warn in due time the local inhabitants about any danger of producing a catastrophic event occurring nearby the inhabited area.
For maintaining the awareness and the response capability of an already implemented tsunami warning system, simulation exercises should be periodically organized. Different responsibilities and tasks of the emergency personal involved in monitoring activities are reviewed, assuring the communication in real time of the emergency relief cruses about the probabilities of producing the disasters and assurance of warning the population;.
The existence of the emergency stock of materials and means of interventions, located in the vicinity of the prone areas of natural hazards, including tsunamis, allows an optimized relief activity after a disaster in the region, assuring a successful intervention activity and minimization of loss of lives and damages to the properties. It is crucial to have sufficient stock including tents, blankets, medicine available in order to support people that have fled from the tsunami;. An efficient preparedness measure depends of timely early warnings issued by the authorities following an earthquake with high magnitude, which often constitute the triggering factor for the tsunami;.
Evacuation routes should be generated on the basis of flood maps and availability of shelters. If no natural shelters hills, mounds, berms are available it is advisable to construct vertical shelters. It should be clear that living in houses which are built 1 - 3m above sea levels, a high level of preparedness is required in the case a tsunami hit;. Already established safety zones, implemented in the planning of the coastal areas, will lower the risk of the highly vulnerable areas, both by earthquakes tremors and tsunami waves, therefore a multi-hazard approach in emergency planning would be advantageous.
Preceding disasters, like a heavy earthquake, could partly destroy evacuation routes and assembly places; therefore a multi-hazard approach earthquake plus tsunami should put particular emphasis on having such routes and places secured. Moreover, the emergency planning should take into account that subsequent disasters or inconveniences may happen and request alteration of early plans, i. Subsequently, people in emergency shelters had again to be redistributed in different safe locations;.
In the particular case of Stromboli type volcanic island, due to the continuous activities of the volcano, constant preparedness is absolutely required, that is availability of responsible persons issuing the alarms, instruction non-residents, keeping free the evacuation routes;. On small islands telecommunication back-up system should be kept operating in order to start rescue operations;.
The nuclear facilities located in the earthquake prone areas should have drilled in advance holes for vent up hydrogen released from the water cooling down reactor. The holes should be positioned at the top of the main building covering the nuclear reactor and containment vessel. This means preventing the hydrogen build up and risk of deflagration which might cause radioactive emissions, in case of core overheating due to breakdown of the cooling system. These hydrogen releases due to radiolysis may take place also because of the nuclear rods exposure in case of lowering down the water level in the cooling water pools with nuclear depleted material found inside the main buildings of the nuclear power plant;.
Every nuclear power plant should take into consideration the availability of a pool of human resources to be used as a supplementary intervention in catastrophic event. In addition, a clean-up facility building located a few kilometers away from the main reactor facilities, including shelters large enough to host the emergency shifts for extended intervention in case of a nuclear incident.
Such an action is recommended when the number of the normal available working shift personnel can not assure a proper emergency intervention in case of power failure and reestablishing the cooling down capabilities of a possible crippled nuclear reactor due to the twin action of a large scale tremor and subsequent tsunami event.
The endowment of the rescue teams with special equipments and means of intervention in case of emergency situations is essential for an efficient response, increasing the chance for saving lives and reducing the economical impact of the natural disasters, including earthquakes. In the aftermath of the disaster, many persons can be rescued beneath the rubble thanks to the sniffer dogs and hi-tech ultrasound equipment both from the national level or foreign emergency teams;.
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The existence of the communication routes through all remote communities within a prone area for natural disaster, including tsunami, is an essential factor for undertaken an efficient response activity in case of a disaster event;. For minimizing the pressure of the local community in case of disasters, the existence of an insurance system for the houses and goods against the natural disasters, including earthquakes is very efficient. This is due to the indemnity of the affected people, automatically covered by the insurance companies. The financial coverage of the response action will not be affected, in case of producing some damages.
Advances in Earth Science: From Earthquakes to Global Warming
Commonly, in the aftermath of an earthquake, the only compensation of the homeless people in the affected areas are the subvention from the state and foreign aid organizations, in order to assure the economical income for a normal social life. In the hazard prone areas where a certain disaster is present, the recovery activities are difficult to undertake, for example in arid regions there is the possibility that water tubes are broken triggering major damages.
Response teams must be ready to get water lines repaired in short time;. In the rehabilitation phase the focus should be put on economical recovery and social sustainability within the affected communities. Therefore long-term intervention development programs have to be set up in the affected areas, for the benefit of the most vulnerable communities, mainly focusing on income generating projects;. The multi-hazard feature of the inhabited areas and population vulnerability, as a result of the economical developing, could worsen the condition of the affected population in case of a natural disaster, superposing the effect of more hazards.
A prime task of the international assistance in the affected regions is the strengthening of the capacity to respond to future disasters in the area, because some regions could have been already suffering from the effects of other hazards before the earthquake, or to withstand to the associated hazards of the main event such as aftershocks, tsunamis, fires due to broken gas pipelines or from the damaged reservoirs of the affected boats or cars carried by the waves into the houses walls, liquefaction and landslides, mudflows, etc.
It clearly stipulates the competencies and the activities during each phase of the emergency intervention for rehabilitation and clearance of the disaster effect. The plan should be constantly revised in order to assure the updating of the information with the changes in land planning activities at the level of the community, or modifications intervened in the structure of the emergency staff personal in charge with the response activities;. Rescue operators have to count with a lot of destruction and uninhabitable houses thus having to maintain a huge number of refugees over a long period;.
The response capability in coastal areas, in the case of a tsunami event, should rely on the effectiveness of the early warning system for tsunami, which allows an efficient preparedness measure. In some vulnerable coastal areas the travel time for tsunami to reach the coastal area is very short for example the Mediterranean region , generally in less than 10 min after start, due to relatively shallow and low step offshore bottom morphology.