Technology

Published on March 21st, 2013 | by admin

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Technologies Warning Us of Emergencies

Being able to predict an emergency can save thousands of lives and countless millions of dollars, if it is done with enough time to spare before a coming storm. New technology is available that helps to monitor certain weather and geographic conditions in order to determine if there is a need to evacuate or fortify an area.

Social Media Tests

It is no surprise that more people get their news from Facebook and Twitter than any other source. Disaster preparation agencies have capitalized upon the social media trends by launching their own apps and broadcasts so that anyone can easily get emergency updates on their account. For example, the city of Houston has used hashtags for their social media accounts in order to circulate information about weather and possible hazards. Tags like #poweroutage and #debris informs citizens of the complications if they venture from their home in the aftermath of a tornado or a hurricane.

Smart Phones, Smart Preparation

Since the average person will look at their phone over one hundred times per day, why not put that to good use with the ability to monitor and track upcoming storms. A quick response or QR code is a two-dimension code that can be scanned on a smart phone in order to get information. Smart phone users have seen these tags before at stores, in magazines, or on advertisements that promise more info. Community preparation organizations in Virginia are now using QR codes that are posted on their site as well as handed out to areas like hotels so that users can scan a tag and instantly get information or warnings about weather.

Modeling a Hurricane

The National Weather Service recently set a goal to have a better forecast of hurricanes, wanting to increase their accuracy on size and landings by twenty percent in five years and fifty percent in ten years. Simulations of hurricanes are by no means new, but now for the first time it is possible to directly upload the information that a plane or satellite sends into a simulation. The planes that flew into Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy were able to upload the forecasts of the storm twenty-four hours earlier with greater accuracy. This has doubled the response time for hurricane preparation from a decade ago. Information points like temperature, humidity, and wind can all be uploaded as soon as they are recorded.

Tornado Warnings

Tornadoes and smaller twisters are some of the most difficult storms to accurately track and predict. What’s more, they can do much more damage than the hurricanes that show up in advance on a regular schedule. Every year as many as five hundred Americans die in tornado-related incidents, compared with only a few dozen who perish from hurricane storms. Now, new technology can create models based on the average amount of rainfall and wind shear as much as a month in advance. Columbia University’s Institute for Climate And Study have used three decades worth of data in order to connect rainfall and wind patterns from several weeks apart. This bridges a hole in forecasting, so that there is a higher probability of knowing when and where a tornado can strike.

Quakes in Advance

Though weather can be a severe drain on lives and finances, no natural disaster compares to the threat of a 7.0 or higher earthquake. Quakes that can level cities are extremely difficult to predict, especially for areas that are removed from fault lines. In 2011, the Japanese earthquakes that killed thousands were detected by a gravity satellite that rotates about the planet at a low trajectory. The pre-shock waves that would trigger the quake were picked up by the satellite, with a disturbance of ten percent of air mass indicating a heavy hit. Though there was not enough time to mitigate the damage in Japan, the future of the technology may be enough to prevent massive shocks from leveling towns.

Author Bio: William Stevens writes in the field of technology. In this article, he describes a few emergency related technologies and aims to encourage further study with a masters in safety.


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