USGCRP May 22nd Seminar

Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at
Tue May 20 11:33:47 EDT 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 13:12:23 -0400
To: coral-list at
From: tsocci at (Tony Socci)
Subject: USGCRP May 22nd Seminar: "Natural Hazards, Human Impacts, and Disaster Reduction"

           U.S. Global Change Research Program Second Monday Seminar Series

                  Natural Hazards, Human Impacts, and Disaster Reduction

What makes a natural hazard into a natural disaster?  Is the seeming
increase in the occurrence of natural disasters real?  What are the likely
causes?  What trends are making society more vulnerable to natural hazards?
Are there measures society can take to mitigate these disasters or the
conditions responsible for them?  Are there measures society can take to
reduce loss of life and damages?

                                                     Public Invited

                                   Thursday, May 22, 1997, 3:30-5:00 PM
                  Rayburn House Office Bldg., Room B369, Washington, DC
                                             Reception Following


The Honorable Dr. James Baker, Administrator of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington,
DC; and Co-Chair, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR)


Dr. William H. Hooke, Director of the U.S. Weather Research Program Office,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD; and
Chair of the interagency Subcommittee for Natural Disaster Reduction


                    Natural Disaster Reduction: A Growing National Challenge

Annual U.S. losses to natural disasters while highly variable.  Over the
last few years, however, they have averaged $50 billion dollars per year,
or roughly $1 billion dollars per week. Of even greater concern are the
long-term trends in costs, which show a doubling or tripling of the damages
each decade, in constant dollars, over the last 35 years. The impacts
caused by natural hazards are increasing as a result of societal changes
such as urbanization and technological interdependence. While disaster
losses are expected to vary considerably from year to year, it is also
expected that they generally will continue to increase, even as a fraction
of the gross national product (GNP), at least in the short run.

Domestically, natural disasters are a sustainable development issue.
Internationally, they threaten global security. Reducing societal
vulnerability to natural hazards, thereby reducing the extent of, or
damages from natural disasters, is important, possible, and cost effective.
Accomplishing this will require a diverse, interconnected range of
actions: comprehensive hazard identification and risk assessment; wiser
land use; improved structural design, building codes, and practice; greater
public awareness, education, and training; improved predictions and
emergency response; and more effective relief and recovery. These steps
would be accelerated by a coordinated, multi-level government response,
with particular attention needed at the state and local levels. Steps
involving financial instruments such as mortgages, property taxes, and
insurance, can be strongly influential.

                        Natural Disaster Reduction: The Links to Global Change

The frequency, strength, and location of hazards-storms, floods, droughts,
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, etc.-are intimately connected
to longer-period global change, whether due to natural variations or
human-induced changes. Focusing on developing a coherent and effective
societal response to the range and nature of natural hazards will increase
the options that society has for coping with global change. Steps taken to
reduce the impacts of natural hazards will provide new opportunities to
experiment and learn how most effectively to prepare for global change.
Each of the opportunities for building resilience to natural hazards will
have its own set of hazard-specific, cultural, and technological aspects,
and each will help provide insights about opportunities for responding to
global change.  Focusing on natural disaster reduction in the context of
global change will also help re-enforce the need for observing systems
required for global change detection and study. Focusing attention on the
reduction of natural disasters also offers the prospect for greatly
strengthening international cooperation on a host of related environmental

        What has become quite evident is that by building local resilience
to natural extremes, we can increase global resilience to long-term changes
in average conditions and can become more prepared for any changes in
extreme conditions.


Dr. William H. Hooke currently holds two national responsibilities:
Director of the U.S. Weather Research Program Office, and Chair of the
interagency Subcommittee for Natural Disaster Reduction of the National
Science and Technology Council's Committee on Environment and Natural
Resources. He has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and antecedent agencies since 1967. After six years
of research in fundamental geophysical fluid dynamics and its application
to the ionosphere, the boundary layer, air quality, aviation, and wind
engineering, he moved into a series of management positions of increasing
scope and responsibility. From 1973 to 1980, he was Chief of the Wave
Propagation Laboratory's Atmospheric Studies Branch. From 1980 to 1983 he
rotated through a series of management development assignments. From 1984
to 1987 he directed NOAA's Environmental Sciences Group (now the Forecast
Systems Laboratory), having responsibility for much of the systems research
and development for the National Weather Service Modernization, as well as
for a range of other weather and climate research activities. From 1987 to
1993 he served as the Deputy Chief Scientist and Acting Chief Scientist of

For two decades Dr. Hooke was an adjunct faculty member in the Department
of Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of
Colorado, teaching courses and supervising students.  He has served on
several panels and committees of the National Research Council and is also
a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and an AMS Councilor.

Dr. Hooke received his B.S. degree from Swarthmore College (1964), and his
S.M. (1966) and Ph.D (1967) degrees from the University of Chicago.

                       The Next Seminar is scheduled for Monday, June 9, 1997

     Planned Topic: UV Radiation and Climate Change in the Antarctic: An Update

For more information please contact:

Anthony D. Socci, Ph.D., U.S. Global Change Research Program Office, Code
YS-1, 300 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20546 Telephone: (202) 358-1532; Fax:
(202) 358-4103 E-Mail: TSOCCI at USGCRP.GOV.

Additional information on the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
and this Seminar Series is available on the USGCRP Home Page at: Normally these seminars are held on the second
Monday of each month.

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