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Cyclone Pam devastates Vanuatu

And speaking disasters, Tropical Cyclone Pam has devastated the country of Vanuatu.  Details here.  Image courtesy of NASA.

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At the UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

First day of the meeting today. Leaving the hotel this morning was interesting.  There are some 30 heads of state attending the conference, along with 100 ministerial delegations.  One of the heads of state is staying at our hotel, and bodyguards are in evidence. Just leaving the hotel this morning in a taxi was challenging, since embassy vehicles and other official cars choked the drive in front of the hotel.

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United Nations Decadal Symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction

Well, its finally almost here - the United Nations third decadal conference on disaster risk reduction.  This global conference was last held on 18-22 January, 2005 in Kobe, Japan.  The upcoming third conference will be held 14-18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan.  Many prominent scientists and even heads of state are expected to attend.  I am fortunate enough to be staying at the primary hotel for the meeting, and expect to be seeing quite a number of the major world players at breakfast, so to speak.  I will also be leading and participating in several of the forums and sessions as a part of t

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California Earthquake Authority Proposes New Menu of Policies

In a press release dated October 23, 2014, the California Earthquake Authority, the primary provider of earthquake insurance within the state of California, has proposed an increase in the number of new policy types.  These include deductibles of 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25%.  With this substantial increase in the types of available policies, homeowners will need to assess their risk and exposure more than ever.  The  free tool

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Back to Blogging

Sorry for the hiatus.  I was teaching 2 classes last term and trying to keep up with research and other duties.  In the following weeks, I will be discussing the run-up to the decadal United Nations World conference on disasters.  Stay tuned!

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The Shimabara Disaster

In August 1791, the twelfth California Mission was established in my town of Santa Cruz. Why bring this up? Well, the very next year hosts today’s topic, The Shimabara Disaster. Let’s set the date on the “way back machine” at 1792; the place – Shimabara Peninsula, southern Kyushu, Japan. 

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Hurricane Gonzalo: A Fabian Redo?

As I write this, hurricane Gonzalo is 150 miles SSW of Bermuda. Its winds have weakened a bit to 125 MPH with a central pressure of 947 mb.  It appears to be shaping up similar to hurricane Fabian in 2003.  Fabian passed Bermuda with sustained winds of 115 MPH and a central pressure of 950 mb.

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Acqua Alta All Over Again

Yogi Berra, the pithy catcher for the New York Yankees, once quipped “It’s like Déjà vu all over again.”  Today’s story might rightly seem like “Déjà blog all over again.”

In two earlier entries

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King fire in Northern California, September 20, 2014

Image from the NASA MODIS instrument on the Acqua satellite.  The fire continues to burn out of control. More details here.


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Radar Image of the Napa Earthquake

Recently the science community has developed a new way to image the ground displacement from earthquakes.  It's called  Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry, or InSAR for short.  In fact NASA has recently signed an agreement with the Indian Space Agency to fund the launch of a radar satellite for earthquake and climate studies.


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