Tornado detection and warnings IN THE PAST – warnings for natural disasters such as tornadoes, lightning storms, floods, tsunamis, or earthquakes, first came when a person saw looming danger in the nearby sky, watched water rise around them, or felt the ground move from under their feet.
For most of mankind’s history, this is the way natural disasters were detected. This method of detection gave very little opportunity for people to seek shelter and avoid death or injury. Unfortunately, for most people in today’s world, this is still the only means of detecting and reacting to the occurrence of disasters. Even in modern “industrial” information economies we still have only rudimentary warning mechanisms for weather related disasters and no systems in place for warnings of seismic or other disasters to general populations.
Disasters occur in all countries around the world with great regularity. They are an accepted fact of life for all the peoples of the world. Natural disasters occur at unpredictable times and in unpredictable ways and have led to an acceptance of the results. As individuals, our main strategies are to hope we are lucky enough to avoid their occurrence, or failing this to mitigate the effects of the disasters by building stronger and safer structures for protection.
Neither our hopes for luck nor our efforts to build stronger shelters have proved altogether successful. Most experts claim that the world’s population is at an ever-increasing risk of death, injury, and property damages from natural disasters. As population and housing densities increase, the world will continue to experience ever increasing danger and damages from natural disasters. Deaths, injuries, and loss of property will continue to increase around the world from the effects of natural disasters unless changes are made in the manner we respond.
TECHNOLOGY IS NOW AVAILABLE – Over the last several decades’ scientists have made great strides in understanding the causative effects of these natural disasters that so impact lives. Much of the mystery surrounding these events is now gone. Although we cannot yet predict these disasters with any degree of confidence, we now have the technical ability to detect and track them with a great deal of accuracy. Most modern societies have begun development of networks of sensors to detect the occurrence of these disasters.
For example; the USA has in place a large scale system of lightning detectors that can sense and record a wide variety of real time information about lightning strikes occurring over most of the country. There is in place or currently under construction a national system of Doppler radar installations which were primarily designed for airline traffic safety but also are well able to detect, track, and record the exact movement, direction, and magnitude of tornadoes.
The USA also has in place a large system of ocean buoys and a satellite network that is able to detect even minor changes in ocean heights to track the movement of tsunami’s through the oceans of the earth. A national system of rainfall gauges is also able to measure real time rainfall amounts over large portions of the continental USA. A significant number of seismographic devices are currently in place in seismically active portions of the country to detect in real time all earthquakes as they occur.
A PARADIGM SHIFT IS NEEDED – We have witnessed an amazing transformation in our technical ability to detect, analyze, and communicate information about natural disasters during the last two decades. In the digital world of computers, we have seen a tremendous increase in the amount and type of data that is available. This same huge increase in “data” is also now available from the various analog sensor/detector
A correspondingly large increase in the capabilities of today’s modern communication
WHAT WE “KNOW” ABOUT NATURAL DISASTERS 1) We know disasters cannot be predicted in advance of the actual occurrence. 2) We know the
WHAT DO YOU THINK ?