Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SHAKE AND BLOW
Beyond wind speed: A new measure for predicting hurricane impacts
by Staff Writers
Fort Collins CO (SPX) Dec 07, 2017


The number of people living in coastal communities has increased exponentially in 100 years, and with it, infrastructure and highways. "Improved building codes and other changes have not been enough to keep up with the sheer volume of wealth, infrastructure and people in those areas," Pilkington said.

Six major hurricanes that engulfed the Atlantic Basin in 2017 were a devastating reminder of the vulnerability of coastal communities, where more than half the U.S. population resides.

What if there was a better way to forecast and communicate these storms' damaging economic impacts, before they happen?

Colorado State University civil engineers have developed an innovative new approach to assessing the resiliency of coastal communities to hurricanes. They've created a "multi-hazard hurricane impact level model," which estimates economic damages to be caused by storms, before they happen.

The impact model is detailed in a recent paper in Palgrave Communications, authored by Hussam Mahmoud, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Stephanie Pilkington, a graduate student in civil engineering, who designed and validated the model.

"Our model forecasts storms more in terms of impacts," Mahmoud explained. Forecasters typically communicate about approaching storms by categorizing sustained wind speeds on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Wind speed, however, is not usually the main cause of death and destruction from hurricanes, the researchers say. The worst impacts are usually caused by flooding, precipitation and storm surge, combined with geography of landfall, population density, and quality of infrastructure. The researchers wanted to come up with a more accurate way to talk about impacts. Their goal is to provide communication about a tropical storm's expected economic damage, rather than only the meteorological intensity of the storm, Pilkington said.

Mahmoud and Pilkington's impact model uses artificial neural networks and machine learning to "teach" a computer program how to predict a pending storm's damage, by dollar figure. The neural network, which is like an artificial human brain that gets smarter the more data it is fed, is powered by detailed historical data from several storms. These include Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Arthur in 2014.

Mahmoud and Pilkington used this historical data to train neural networks to connect actual storm characteristics to actual known outcomes from those storms. To feed their model, they used publicly available data from federal agencies. Their model uses inputs including estimated landfall, population affected, maximum wind speed, maximum storm surge, and total precipitation.

Then, they tested the model in real time during actual storms, including most recently Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast around Houston, Texas, in August.

The researchers also used their model to analyze whether physical and policy improvements such as seawalls, the National Flood Insurance Program, and updated building codes have mitigated the impacts of powerful storms. In short, they haven't, the researchers say.

According to their data, coastal communities in Florida or Texas are about as economically vulnerable, or even worse off, to hurricane devastation as they were 100 years ago. That's a sobering reality the engineers hope their work can shed light on.

The number of people living in coastal communities has increased exponentially in 100 years, and with it, infrastructure and highways. "Improved building codes and other changes have not been enough to keep up with the sheer volume of wealth, infrastructure and people in those areas," Pilkington said.

Pilkington, whose interests intersect in meteorology and civil engineering, wants the model to make a real difference in people's lives. "My ultimate goal is to have it be used by someone - whether the National Weather Service or elsewhere," she said. "We should be communicating to the public in terms of impact instead of intensity."

Mahmoud and Pilkington are continuing to advance their model with better data, providing an even more accurate picture for hurricanes going forward. They also plan to use it to predict effects of climate change.

Research paper

SHAKE AND BLOW
India, Sri Lanka cyclone death toll rises to 26
Colombo (AFP) Dec 2, 2017
Thousands took to relief camps in Sri Lanka and southern India on Saturday to escape rising floodwaters after a cyclone killed at least 26 people. Cyclone Ockhi has left 13 people dead in Sri Lanka and killed an equal number in India's Kerala and Tamil Nadu states since Friday as it churns in the Arabian Sea. Eleven people, mostly fishermen, remained missing in the two countries as near ... read more

Related Links
Colorado State University
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SHAKE AND BLOW
Building for a future in space: An interview with Dava Newman and Gui Trotti

Space Farms: 'Mark Watney in The Martian Was Right to Add Poop to the Soil'

Does the Outer Space Treaty at 50 need a rethink

NASA to send critical science, instruments to Space Station

SHAKE AND BLOW
Russia to build launch pad for super heavy-lift carrier by 2028

Flat-Earther's self-launch plan hits a snag

Mechanisms are critical to all space vehicles

SSTL ships CARBONITE-2 and Telesat's LEO-1 for PSLV launch

SHAKE AND BLOW
Opportunity Greets Winter Solstice

NASA builds its next Mars rover mission

Scientists developed a new sensor for future missions to the Moon and Mars

Earthworms can reproduce in Mars-like soil

SHAKE AND BLOW
Nation 'leads world' in remote sensing technology

China plans for nuclear-powered interplanetary capacity by 2040

China plans first sea based launch by 2018

China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

SHAKE AND BLOW
Orbital ATK purchase by Northrop Grumman approved by shareholders

UK space launch program receives funding boost from Westminster

Going green to the Red Planet

Need to double number of operational satellites: ISRO chief

SHAKE AND BLOW
First step toward practical application of holographic memory with magnetic assist

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

SHAKE AND BLOW
Scallops have 200 eyes, which function like a telescope: study

Texas A and M-Galveston team finds cave organisms living off methane gas

Exoplanet Has Smothering Stratosphere Without Water

Scientists study Earth's earliest life forms in Nevada hot spring

SHAKE AND BLOW
Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected

Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

Watching Jupiter's multiple pulsating X-ray Aurora

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement