Playing Against Nature: Integrating Science and Economics to Mitigate Natural Hazards in an Uncertain World (Wiley Works)

Playing Against Nature: Integrating Science and Economics to Mitigate Natural Hazards in an Uncertain World (Wiley Works)

By: Seth Stein (author), Jerome L. Stein (author)Hardback

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Description

Defending society against natural hazards is a high-stakes game of chance against nature, involving tough decisions. How should a developing nation allocate its budget between building schools for towns without ones or making existing schools earthquake-resistant? Does it make more sense to build levees to protect against floods, or to prevent development in the areas at risk? Would more lives be saved by making hospitals earthquake-resistant, or using the funds for patient care? What should scientists tell the public when as occurred in L Aquila, Italy and Mammoth Lakes, California there is a real but small risk of an upcoming earthquake or volcanic eruption? Recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis show that society often handles such choices poorly. Sometimes nature surprises us, when an earthquake, hurricane, or flood is bigger or has greater effects than expected from detailed hazard assessments. In other cases, nature outsmarts us, doing great damage despite expensive mitigation measures or causing us to divert limited resources to mitigate hazards that are overestimated. Much of the problem comes from the fact that formulating effective natural hazard policy involves combining science, economics, and risk analysis to analyze a problem and explore the costs and benefits of different options, in situations where the future is very uncertain. Because mitigation policies are typically chosen without such analysis, the results are often disappointing. This book uses general principles and case studies to explore how we can do better by taking an integrated view of natural hazards issues, rather than treating the relevant geoscience, engineering, economics, and policy formulation separately. Thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter invite readers to confront the complex issues involved. Readership: Instructors, researchers, practitioners, and students interested in geoscience, engineering, economics, or policy issues relevant to natural hazards. Suitable for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses. Additional resources can be found at: http://www.wiley.com/go/Stein/Playingagainstnature

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About Author

Seth Stein, Deering Professor of Geological Sciences at Northwestern University, is a seismologist interested in the science of large earthquakes and earthquake hazard mitigation. He has been awarded the James B. Macelwane Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the George Woollard Award of the Geological Society of America, the Stephan Mueller Medal of the European Geosciences Union, the Price Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and a Humboldt Foundation Research Award. The late Jerome Stein, who was Eastman Professor of Economics at Brown University, had interests including decision theory and formation of public policy.

Contents

Preface xi Acknowledgments xiv Note on Further Reading and Sources xvi About the Companion Website xviii 1 A Tricky, High-Stakes Game 1 1.1 Where We Are Today 1 1.2 What We Need to Do Better 6 1.3 How Can We Do Better? 14 Questions 17 Further Reading and Sources 19 References 20 2 When Nature Won 22 2.1 The Best-Laid Plans 22 2.2 Why Hazard Assessment Went Wrong 24 2.3 How Mitigation Fared 30 2.4 The Challenges Ahead 32 Questions 35 Further Reading and Sources 35 References 36 3 Nature Bats Last 38 3.1 Prediction Is Hard 38 3.2 Forecasts, Predictions, and Warnings 40 3.3 Earthquake Prediction 45 3.4 Chaos 50 Questions 53 Further Reading and Sources 54 References 55 4 Uncertainty and Probability 57 4.1 Basic Ideas 57 4.2 Compound Events 60 4.3 The Gaussian Distribution 64 4.4 Probability vs Statistics 68 4.5 Shallow and Deep Uncertainties 70 Questions 72 Further Reading and Sources 73 References 74 5 Communicating What We Know and What We Don t 75 5.1 Recognizing and Admitting Uncertainties 75 5.2 Precision and Accuracy 81 5.3 Testing Forecasts 83 5.4 Communicating Forecasts 86 Questions 93 Further Reading and Sources 94 References 95 6 Human Disasters 97 6.1 Assessing Hazards 97 6.2 Vulnerability and Interconnections 99 6.3 The 2008 US Financial Disaster 101 6.4 Pseudodisasters and Groupthink 105 6.5 Disaster Chic 109 Questions 110 Further Reading and Sources 112 References 113 7 How Much Is Enough? 115 7.1 Rational Policy Making 115 7.2 Lessons from National Defense 119 7.3 Making Choices 122 7.4 Uncertainty and Risk Aversion 124 7.5 Present and Future Value 126 7.6 Valuing Lives 129 7.7 Implications for Natural Hazard Mitigation 131 Questions 132 Further Reading and Sources 134 References 135Contents ix 8 Guessing the Odds 136 8.1 Big Events Are Rare 136 8.2 Time-Independent Probability Models 140 8.3 Time-Dependent Probability Models 145 Questions 149 Further Reading and Sources 150 References 150 9 When s the Next Earthquake? 151 9.1 A Very Tough Problem 151 9.2 Earthquake Frequency-Magnitude Relation 152 9.3 Earthquake Cycle Model 158 9.4 Computing Earthquake Probabilities 168 9.5 Shaky Probabilities 170 Questions 172 Further Reading and Sources 174 References 175 10 Assessing Hazards 176 10.1 Five Tough Questions 176 10.2 Uncertainties 177 10.3 How Is the Hazard Defi ned? 178 10.4 Where Will Large Earthquakes Occur? 182 10.5 When Will Large Earthquakes Occur? 187 10.6 How Big Will the Large Earthquakes Be? 190 10.7 How Much Shaking? 194 10.8 Dealing With the Uncertainties 196 10.9 Next Steps 200 Questions 201 Further Reading and Sources 201 References 202 11 Mitigating Hazards 204 11.1 Approaches 204 11.2 Accepting Risk 205 11.3 Transferring Risk 206 11.4 Avoiding Risk 207 11.5 Mitigating Risk 208 11.6 Combined Strategies 213 Questions 214 Further Reading and Sources 217 References 217 12 Choosing Mitigation Policies 220 12.1 Making Choices 220 12.2 House Fire Mitigation 223 12.3 Losses from Hazards 227 12.4 Optimal Natural Hazard Mitigation 228 12.5 Nonoptimal Natural Hazard Mitigation 232 12.6 Mitigation Given Uncertainties 233 12.7 Robust Policy Making 235 Questions 238 Further Reading and Sources 239 References 240 13 Doing Better 241 13.1 Final Thoughts 241 13.2 Community Decision Making 242 13.3 Improved Organization 244 Questions 248 Further Reading and Sources 249 References 249 Index 251

Product Details

  • publication date: 23/05/2014
  • ISBN13: 9781118620823
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 278
  • ID: 9781118620823
  • weight: 740
  • ISBN10: 1118620828

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  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
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