Scenario Methodology in Natural Hazards Research
The Assessment of Research on Natural Hazards is intended to serve two purposes: (1) it provides a more nearly balanced and comprehensive basis for judging the probable social utility of allocation of funds and personnel of various types of research on natural hazards; (2) it stimulates, in the process, a more systematic appraisal of research needs by scientific investigators in cooperation with users of their findings. The basic mode of analysis is to examine the complex set of interactions between social systems and natural systems which create hazards from the extreme geophysical events. The chief hazards investigated related to: coastal erosion, drought, earthquake, flood, frost, hail, hurricane, landslide, lightning, snow avalanche, tornado, tsunami, urban snow, volcano, and windstorms. For each of those hazards the physical characteristics of the extreme events in the natural system are examined. The present use of hazardous areas and the variety of adjustments which people have made to extreme events in the natural system are examined. The present use of hazardous areas and the variety of adjustments includes measures to modify the event, as by seeding a hurricane; modifying the hazard, as by adjusting building or land use to take account of the impact of the extreme event; and distributing the losses, as by insurance or relief. Taking all of the adjustments into account, the impact of the hazard upon society is estimated in terms of property losses, fatalities and injuries, and systemic disruption. An effort is made to identify the directions of change in the mix of adjustments and in their social impact. As a part of this review, those forces in the national society which shape the decisions about adjustments are appraised.