GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 150-9
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM


RUBIN, Jeffrey N., Wilsonville, OR 97070

Geoscientists can inform individual to policy-level decision-making for how society identifies, prepares for, responds to, and recovers from disasters and other effects of natural hazards. Making technical information accessible to non-technical end-users is a continual but not insurmountable challenge. Competing demands among finite resources require best available science presented in the most effective way(s) for the audience(s) at hand.

Pre-incident contributions include characterizing hazards and identifying associated vulnerabilities, whether for discrete events (e.g., earthquakes, storms, flooding) or long-term changes to hazard profiles (e.g., climate change). These can drive land-use decisions and code adoption as well as more realistic hazard vulnerability analyses. Meaningfully communicating uncertainty, forecast confidence (as applicable), and potential range of impacts are significant challenges but essential in developing valid planning assumptions for response and recovery as well as hazard mitigation investments. For incidents allowing warning, critical geoscientific input includes: potential duration of the warning period and actual event; possible event paths; delineating potentially affected areas; guidance for initial and long-term response considerations. Regardless of warning, post-impact decisions require updated hazard information as well as potential obstacles to response and recovery (e.g., aftershocks, landslides, additional eruptions). Post-incident decision-making offers opportunities to capitalize on short-lived public awareness and interest, ideally driving sustainable recovery, more resilient communities, and more realistic planning assumptions for the future.

Specific examples include:

  • Oregon Resilience Plan and related science-based legislation
  • Coordination plans for Mt. Hood and other volcanoes
  • Standardized science-based classes to help communities address local hazards
  • Land-use restrictions in delineated hazard zones
  • Short-term debris-flow warnings
  • PIOrefs.pdf (69.8 kB)
  • SOCO worksheet.doc (25.0 kB)
  • SOCO_worksheet.pdf (6.3 kB)