Role of Technology in Crisis Science


When you read the news nowadays, there is always something about nature. Today could be how Hurricane Harvey may have devastated Texas. In the recent days, Hurricane Irma is tearing the Caribbean and Florida apart. There is an earthquake in Mexico that has claimed several lives and not to forget the wildfires that have baked Nevada and California during the summer. However, as people learn to come to terms with the losses and devastation, there is another story that is quietly unfolding. Nature scientists are referring to the disasters, wildfires as well as the oil spills as natural labs. This means that the data that is being collected at the moment by the scientists, and the one that will be collected in the future can be used to find a solution to the chaos. Clemson University in South Carolina ecologist Gary Machlis says that science surges when disaster strikes. For starters, Gary has worked with the Interior’s Strategic Science Group under the US Department of Science. This is an organization that that deals with the way that the government responds to natural disasters. At the same time, Gary Machlis has done research about the issue and has written journals and books about the same.

Using Hurricane Harvey as an example, many government scientists from the US Geological Survey flooded the state of Texas following the hurricane. They were on the ground as soon as the rain stopped. What they did when they arrived at the state is to drop sensors into streams. The purpose of these sensors is to determine the flow of water in terms of speed and how water from other areas was affected by the storm. This helps the Federal Emergency Management Agency with planning for areas that are more susceptible to flooding. After Hurricane Irma landed in Florida, the same scientists landed in the coastal areas of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina with pier pylons as well as their sensors. From the data that these scientists collect, it will be possible to explain the damage caused by the surge. At the same time, it will be possible to improve flooding models in the future. Private institutions like Stanford University are investing into crisis science. As for Stanford University, they have a branch known as Science Action Network. The branch is responsible for research into the natural disasters and at the same time encourage communication among the groups that participate in crisis science.


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