Natural Disasters


A webpage by Callie Herron

 

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 Natural Disasters impact on the environment

Environmental degradation is a key factor turning extreme weather events into natural disasters, a new WWF report has found. Liza Higgins-Zogib, of the WWF’s Protected Areas Initiative, says that the "effect of deforestation and floodplain development most often links to heavy rainfalls which leads to flooding and landslides. Also when coastal disasters occur such as tsunamis and hurricanes it can lead to much more loss of life and damage when reefs are damaged, mangroves are removed, dune systems are developed and coastal forests are cleared."

 

Global Warming -- Is it causing more natural disasters?

 Many people are claiming is that global warming -- along with over-development and other human activity -- is raising sea levels and reducing or eliminating the natural barriers such as mangroves and coral reefs that protect coastlines from the worst of the tsunami damage. Experts pointed out that the global warming and the increase of greenhouse gas effect have exerted impact on the natural ecosystems in many areas of the world, such as raising of sea surface, glacial recession, frozen soil melting and late freezing and early melting of rivers and lakes.

 

 Hurricanes

Hurricanes are huge tropical cyclones that originate over oceans near the equator. Hurricanes are intense low pressure areas that form over warm waters in summer and early fall. Evaporation of seawater increases their power. Luckily, many hurricanes will never reach dry land, but when they do they cause destruction of everything in their path such as buildings, homes, cars, etc. Hurricanes usually come with strong winds starting at 74 mph and can reach up to 155 mph, heavy rain, and massive ocean waves that can cause flooding.

Tornadoes

 Even though tornadoes are seen world wide, they are found most frequently in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring and summer months. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries.Tornadoes are formed when thunderstorms develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Flashfloods and lightening are often seen after a tornado.

Tsunamis

A tsunami is a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet, onto land. These walls of water can cause widespread destruction when they crash ashore. Many different events can cause a tsunami such as earthquakes, mass movement above or below, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and nuclear weapons testing. Tsunami waves may travel in the open sea as fast as 450 miles per hour.

Earthquakes

 sakhalin-earthquake-main.jpg

When forces pushing on a mass of rock overcome the friction holding the rock in place and blocks of rock slip against each other an earthquake can occur. In short, an earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. Some earthquakes are so small, and some occur in certain areas, that they are barely felt. Others are extremely violent that they cause extensive damage as shown in the picture above. Earthquakes are caused by stress below the earth's outer surface.