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WeatherZine #5

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 · 2 months ago
WeatherZine #5
Number 5, August 15 1997

"What's happening on the Societal Aspects of Weather WWW Site."

WeatherZine is a bi-monthly on-line and e-mail distribution newsletter for the Societal Aspects of Weather Site. It contains a summary of recent changes to the site (along with links to relevant sections), and news, events, and announcements of interest to the community.

WeatherZine, and its parent WWW site, accept and encourage the submission of activities, events, or links of interest to the community. You can use the on-line forms in the Feedback section or can send an email to with the item you would like to see posted on the site or included in the next issue of the Zine.


  1. Editorial
    • Two Faces of Mitigation
    • A New Look to Our Site

  2. Community News
    • The U.S. Weather Research Program Has a New Web Site
    • What to look for in coming months

  3. New Additions to the WWW Site:
    • Emergency Management
    • Floods
    • Tropical Cyclone
    • Lightning
    • General Public
    • People & Organizations

  4. Subscribe Now!

[1] Editorial -- Two Faces of Mitigation

The concept of "mitigation" is central to the natural disaster policy in the United States. At the same time, the concept of "mitigation" is also central to ongoing debate about global climate change. But as used by the natural disaster community and the climate change community, the term "mitigation" takes on almost exactly opposite meanings.

Natural hazard mitigation is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as "a sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects." A recent FEMA report on Costs and Benefits of Natural Hazard Mitigation provides examples of mitigation which include business interruption insurance, wind shutters, building codes, and community relocation.

Climate change mitigation is defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "actions that prevent or retard the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by limiting current and future emissions from sources of greenhouses gases and enhancing potential sinks." What the natural hazards community calls mitigation, the climate change community calls "adaptation" which the IPCC defines as "any adjustment - whether passive, reactive, or anticipatory - that can respond to anticipated or actual consequences associated with climate change."

All clear? We thought so.

The different use of terminology creates a situation that is potentially confusing for policy makers and other practictioners. While academics often work in communities that are relatively isolated from one another, policy makers typically do not. And since natural hazards are one of the threats being associated with climate change, it is probably worth paying attention to the words used in this regard.

At a minimum, the conflicting terminology is symptomatic of the general lack of interaction between the hazards and climate change communities. In the climate change world, there is a tension between those who seek to prevent (i.e., climate change mitigation) climate change through energy policies and those who emphasize adaptation (i.e, natural hazards mitigation). To date, the advocates of prevention have dominated the debate. This creates a disincentive for the natural hazards community to play a significant role in the development of climate policy, which is unfortunate, as without a doubt the knowledge gained by the hazards community has an important role to play in the climate policies of the future.

- Roger A. Pielke, Jr.

A New Look to the Our Site

You have probably noticed that our site looks a bit different. We have changed the organization of the site with the objective of making it a little easier to find your way around.

How does it work?

We have the same main 5 categories (User Groups, Phenomena, Economic & Casualty Data, Community and Research Tools, and Site Information) from which you go to each related subcategory. You can now jump between the 5 main categories without going back to the main page, or jump between subcategories without going back to the "parent" page.

The bar on the left side of the page has your options, and also lets you know where you are located. To get a better understanding of the site, go to the "map" page.

We hope this will make navigating through the site a bit easier, and as always, we look forward to receiving any comments or contributions you may have.

[2] Community News

The U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) Has a New Web Site

A better forecast for the general public - as well as for weather-sensitive economic sectors - is the ultimate goal of a very complex multiagency program now gaining steam. The USWRP is attempting to leverage and coordinate current research at its participating laboratories.

The program now has a new Web Site!

It is hoped that the site will evolve toward a serious medium of exchange for ongoing research within the program, including real-time experimental forecasts. While the research section of the web site is mostly a shell at the moment, researchers whose field is USWRP related are welcome to convey their results via this site. The site also contains science team and workshop reports, including the Prospectus Development Team reports (a unique way to participate in USWRP planning), sometimes in draft form, for community critique and programmatic feedback to the co-sponsoring agencies. Announcements of opportunity to compete for USWRP funding will also be posted, as well as all the information required to be responsive to near-term program foci and the longer-term program goals. For regular visitors to the site, there is a "What's New" icon, where all recent additions are posted.

What to look for in coming months

In coming months we are going to focus our efforts on two activities to enhance the value of the Societal Aspects of Weather Site.

We are going to invest in building the Vjournal sufficiently such that it can provide researchers with a useful bibliographic resource. We will begin by entering references to the literature associated with floods and hurricanes. We will then focus on the literature on the sociology of disasters more generally. This project can be greatly enhanced with your contributions. If you have bibliographic information that would be appropriate to reside in the Vjournal, be all means, email them to us and we will enter them in the database.

The most frequent request that we receive is for data on the economic and other societal impacts associated with weather as well as guidance for how to use these data. As a result of these requests, we have initiated a project to develop a Sourcebook on Economic and Other Measures of Weather Impacts on the United States. Our goal is two-fold: first, to collect and display as much of the publicly available data that we can locate and then to provide these data in a user-friendly manner. And second, we will provide guidance as to how best to use these data. If you have data or other information that you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact us.

[3] New Additions to the WWW Site:

Emergency Management

Natural Disaster Reduction ( A Plan for the Nation - The purpose of this report is to highlight ongoing federal research efforts in this science and technology (S&T) field and to identify new and promising areas where there might be gaps in federal support. The report is intended for internal planning purposes within the federal agencies and as a mechanism to convey to the S&T community the types of research and research priorities being sponsored and considered by the federal agencies. The administration is committed to a broad range of high-priority investments (including science and technology), as well as to deficit reduction, and to a smaller, more efficient federal government.


Dartmouth Flood Observatory
( This web site is a research tool for mapping, measurement, and analysis of major flood events using remote sensing.

Final Report of the Flood Emergency Action Team
( In January of this year, Californians suffered severe flooding across the entire state, resulting in at least $2 billion in damage. To address the many questions that these floods raised, the governor of California formed a Flood Emergency Action Team (FEAT), which held citizen advisory meetings across the state. The resultant report, available at the URL above, describes FEAT's efforts, lists the teams's final recommendations to the governor, summarizes the flood event and the emergency management response to it, lists broad floodplain management issues for the state, describes possible flood control system improvements, and examines consequent funding issues.

The NOAA/NESDIS/ORA Flash Flood Home Page
( Experimental Products for Flash Flood Forecasting

Tropical Cyclone

International Hurricane Center (IHC) ( The Center focuses on interdisciplinary projects to promote and coordinate research related to hazard mitigation, disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and redevelopment.


Annual USA Lightning Losses ( Annual economic losses from lightning compiled by NLSI [] from various sources.

Lightning Media Page ( A collection of facts and pointers to further information (maintained by NLSI).

What it's like to be struck by lightning ( Tim Gibson was struck by lightning and maintains this home page detailing the experience.

General Public

Office Of Meteorology ( The Office of Meteorology (OM) resides within National Weather Service (NWS) Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. NWS is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). OM is responsible for developing the overall policy and the operational guidelines for NWS Meteorological products and services. The Office of Meteorology also plays a significant role in the modernization of the NWS by leading the effort to establish and develop a formal process of validation and verification of the modernized services.

TAMMI Meteorology Terms Server (

People & Organizations

International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters ( The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters is published triannually during the months of March, August, and November. It is concerned with the social and behavioral aspects of relatively sudden collective stress situations typically referred to as disasters or mass emergencies. All aspects of the life history of such events, both actual and threatened, are examined including mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities.

[4] Subscribe Now!

The WeatherZine is produced as a Web site and an email message. Subscribing to the WeatherZine will add you to our distribution list and you will receive email messages whenever the WeatherZine is released.

To subscribe to the WeatherZine, use the on-line form at:, send an email to and include the following information:

Email Address
Interests & Needs

or send an email to and in the body of the message include:

subscribe weatherzine <your email address>

* do not include the <>'s. Majordomo will ignore the subject line.

For additional information, please contact


Weather Impacts Group
Societal Aspects of Weather
Environmental and Societal Impacts Group
National Center for Atmospheric Research
US Weather Research Program

Societal Aspects of Weather Web Site:

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