Case studies

  • Created by: BeccaEK
  • Created on: 03-06-15 09:59

Hurricane Sandy

  • Date: 24th-29th October 2012 (hit Cuba 24th + NYC 29th)
  • Catagory: 2 in Jamaica, catagory 1 on approach to USA
  • Wind speeds: 110mph in Cuba, 90mph in NYC
  • Track: highly unusual - NW instead of NE (towards densly populated NYC)
  • Storm surge: upto 4m > reached NYC 3-4 hours before high tide so shallow harbour magnified funneling of storm surge
  • Prediction: (Cuba) 23rd, 15:00 government issued hurricane watch, 18:00 issued hurricane warning - 55,000 evacuated (NYC) evacuation of >370,000, 1.1 million children off school (evacuation centres at 76 schools), public transport closed or suspended
  • Economic impacts: (Cuba) (ST) need for food imports (LT) sugar mills had to be repaired (NYC) (ST) stock exchange closed (LT) $50 billion in repairs
  • Social impacts: (Cuba) (ST) 11 deaths (LT) housing crisis aggravated (NYC) (ST) phone connections were down, 20,000 calls unanswered every hour (LT) school buildings to be repaired + equipment to be replaced
  • Environmental impacts: (Cuba) (ST) torrential rain damage (LT) 2,600 hectares of bananas swept away (NYC) (ST) 630 storm related oil/nuclear spills (LT) lasting scar on sensitive salt marshes, threat of large fish deaths
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Cyclone Nargis

  • Date: 2nd May 2008 (made landfall in Myanmar)
  • Catagory: 4 on Saffir-Simpson scale
  • Wind speeds: up to 135mph
  • Track: grew in size + strength as it tracked east towards Myanmar (changing direction)
  • Storm surge: height of 3.5m, travelled 25-40km up Irrawaddy Delta, funnelled by 7 mouths
  • Prediction: Burmese government warned of it 48 hours before it hit but did not act on information, Myanmar does not have resources for own prediction
  • Economic impacts: damage estimated to cost over US$10billion, $691million needed to fund 3 years of assistance, all delta agriculture destroyed, 100s of 1000s live without adequate food + shelter so cannot return to their jobs
  • Social impacts: over 140,000 deaths, 7/15 townships lost 90-95% of homes + 70% of populations dead or missing, increased risk of disease outbreak, survivors live with horror stories of experiences during/after cyclone
  • Environmental impacts: disruption to aquaculture/rice paddies, pollution of water sources by salinisation, erosion of agricultural land, 35,000 hectares of mangroves damaged
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UK Intense Cold

  • Date: 16th December 2009 - 25th January 2010
  • Causes: depression system, with persistent patterns of cold winds from North Sea (Pm), strong jet stream, followed by anticyclonic system which preventing snow melting + bring fog & mist
  • Main aspects: Prolonged period of intense cold
  • Management: (ST) met office put out early weather warning, updating as it got more severe, roads + paths gritted but supplies ran out, local police sent out warnings, government produced leaflets for 'keep warm, keep well' campaign + distributed them at gp surgeries + pharmacies
  • Vulnerability: elderly, low income households (cannot afford adequate heating), seriously ill
  • Economic impacts: people unable to get to work, flights cancelled (decreased revenue)
  • Social impacts: more isolated areas = more vulnerable, elderly may not get all warnings due to lack of up-to-date technology, >2000 school closures, travel issues
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Australian Wildfires + Bushfires

  • Date: 15th January - 10th March 2014
  • Causes: light positively charged particles at top of cloud and heavier negative charged particles grow and spark lightning - several strikes caused more than 250 fires in forested areas, fire worsened by extreme heat
  • Main aspects: property loss, infrastructure destroyed, power shortages
  • Management: government contributed $465million to reconstruction + recovery efforts, in Victoria 'Rebuilding Together' spent $193million on rebuilding community facilities + helping those who lost homes, education given to children too
  • Vulnerability: (human) elderly = poor responses to high temps, those driving, the young, pregnant women (animals) koalas responses slow so burnt paws, domestic pets must be considered in evacuation plans
  • Social impacts: (ST) road closures, 30,000 residents without power for 1 night, trains suspended + flights delayed (LT) about 50 homes destroyed
  • Environmental impacts: (LT) loss of animal + plant life, 9,000 cattle + sheep lost, 166,000 hectares burnt
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Mali Drought

  • Date: 2010 - 2011
  • Causes: extensive high pressure system with anticyclonic conditions, continued persistence of subtropical high pressure over continental areas
  • Main aspects: extended period of dry weather leading to dry conditions
  • Management: red cross distributed food aid + taught people how to prevent severe hunger, volunteers look after the malnourished, local radio stations provide meteorological information
  • Vulnerability: children worst hit (malnutrition) as parents don't realise they're suffering, more than 50% population live on <$1 a day
  • Social impacts: poor harvest led over 100,000 people to flee villages due to lack of food, health problems, malnutrition doubled, 3.5million affected by food shortages, 269,000 Malians fled to Algeria, not enough food for population
  • Environmental impacts: major rivers shrunk, rice paddies dried out, rely on rain fed agriculture (main source of food + income)
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UK Winter Storms

  • Date: 3013-2014
  • Causes: strong North Atlantic jet stream, linked with exceptional wind patterns contributed to series of depressions passing over UK in quick succession
  • Main aspects: heavy wind + rain led to severe damage to infrastructure + resulted in loss of life, high rainfall + extreme storm surges caused flooding
  • Management: flooding of Somerset levels resulted in 'flood action plan', environment agency to dredge rivers + manage urban runoff, Welsh water introduced preventative scheme after homes repeatedly flooded + polluted > involves digging up tarmac + diverting water into pits + gullies so water should seep away and evaporate
  • Vulnerability: those living on floodplains or on the coastline - these areas can be protected to reduce vulnerability, farmers rely on crop harvest to make a living, the homeless would experience severe weather conditions
  • Economic impacts: flood damages infrastructure+ transport, schools closed
  • Social impacts: 17 deaths, 68 severe injuries, 6,000 homes without power
  • Environmental impacts: major flooding causing devestation to farmland, 12,000 acres farmland under water for 1 month
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UK Heatwave

  • Date: 3rd - 23rd July 2013
  • Causes: high pressure anticyclone + 30-35C Tc air from France resulted in almost no rain for 20 days, average temperature of 30C by day, 15C by night
  • Main aspects: extreme heat causing human issues, such as dehydration
  • Management: meteorological office has warning system which issues alerts (levels 1-4) so people can act accordingly, people can sign up to email alerts + daily updates on weather channel/apps, education on how to act, websites
  • Vulnerability: the elderly and young children, those with serious health issues + tourists who are not used to the temperatures or warned of them
  • Social impacts: central tube line reached 32.4C at rush hour (minor health issues caused), A&E unable to cope with numbers, 760 fatalities in 9 days from ht weather (majority = those most vulnerable), 30,000 more deaths than usual in Europe + 2000-3000 more in UK alone
  • Environmental impacts: warmer sea temperatures made Britain's shores suitable for jelly fish, increase in numbers of butterflies - 12 species found at numbers over 50% previously recorded
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UK Snow

  • Date: January + March 2013
  • Causes: January - series of Atlantic weather fronts attempted to introduce milder air to UK, cold air from East influenced UK, snow fell + strong southeasterly winds March - Ireland = 40cm snow, localised flooding
  • Main aspects: heavy rain + flooding met cold air and turned to snow, cold weather meant this persisted + impacts were numerous
  • Management: Met office introduced an 'orange' warning, extra supplies of oil/gas brought in, social media accounts kept 9million people informed, met office app viewed 3.7million times on 20th Jan
  • Vulnerability: the elderly, low income groups (high heating costs), those in low lying areas, those living in isolated areas or on islands off Scotland
  • Economic impacts: estimated costs to be £500million according to insurance group RSA, up to 1/3 workforce unable to travel to work
  • Social impacts: 5,000 schools shut, motorists stuck in cars for hours, public transport cancelled, repair work hindered by snow on ground
  • Environmental impacts: conditions too severe for new born lambs - estimated in Northern Ireland alone 3,000 animals died
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Moore Tornado

  • Date: 20th May 2013
  • Size: 1.3m wide + travelled over 17 miles
  • Prediction: warnings were sent out
  • Management: residents have rebuilt their homes with storm shelters or safe rooms (saves lives), Oklahoma formed state agency to set building codes, towns + cities can set stronger codes, 'toenail' joints used (nails driven into wood at 45 degree angle)
  • Vulnerability: probability of repeated tornadoes is low so makes decisions regarding management harder - many don't see the point in rebuilding if tornado may not influence them
  • Economic impacts: $2billion in damages
  • Social impacts: 24 fatalities, 7 children killed in school with no shelter, loss of homes + damage to infrastructure
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Beijing Photochemical Smog

The problem/causes:

  • smog in Beijing is caused by coal burning - also biggest producer of mega-pollutants, NOx and SO2
  • 'Black Triangle' = Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia > pollutants from this area are being blown into Beijing by winds
  • roughly 1/2 coal pollution comes from inside the city itself
  • 10% total smog is from vehicle exhausts > around 1/4million new cars added to the city each year
  • air comes from the desert so is warm, it brings dust + sand

The solution/management:

  • British school of Beijing has built air-locked domes for children to play in - these cost $5million so too expensive for majority of schools
  • people commonly wear paper masks + some have more heavy duty ones
  • new laws and regulations bring fines on those who commit environmental violations
  • water sprinklers thought possible to 'wash pollution out of sky'
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