Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researcher: Global Warming Not To Blame For Tsunami

Date:
January 26, 2005
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
The shock and awe resulting from the massive tsunami that hit Indian Ocean nations Dec. 26 has left many wondering what could have caused such a disaster and if there is anything humans can do to control or mitigate future events. Some quickly suggested that an increase in the frequency of natural disasters like the tsunami were a harbinger of what we have in store due to the increase of Earth's greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.

EMPE, Ariz. – The shock and awe resulting from the massive tsunami that hit Indian Ocean nations Dec. 26 has left many wondering what could have caused such a disaster and if there is anything humans can do to control or mitigate future events.

Some quickly suggested that an increase in the frequency of natural disasters like the tsunami were a harbinger of what we have in store due to the increase of Earth's greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.

Nothing could be further from the truth, said Daniel Sarewitz, a professor of science and society and director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

In an article in the current issue of The New Republic, "Rising Tide--The Tsunami's Real Cause," Sarewitz and Roger Pielke Jr., of University of Colorado, Boulder, say that tying the tsunami and other natural disasters to human induced climatic change "is both scientifically and morally unsupportable."

"Reducing emissions is important, but will not reduce vulnerability to disasters," Sarewitz added.

Sarewitz noted that while the world has seen a sharp increase in natural disasters, from around 100 per year reported in the early 1960s, to 500 to 800 per year by the early 21st century, its cause is not due to an increase in the frequency or severity of such events, but an increase in human vulnerability due to where people live and how they live.

"We know how to prepare for disasters, but the world has not made this a high enough priority," Sarewitz said. "If disaster preparation received the same political attention as global warming, significant progress could be made."

While more people live in coastal regions, especially in poor and developing countries, and while it is true that sea levels are rising, there is no research that suggests that the Kyoto Protocol or even more ambitious emissions reduction proposals would significantly reduce the impacts of disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis.

"It is absurd to suggest that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important part of the answer," Sarewitz said.

Yet coastal populations will continue to swell, putting more people in a vulnerable position should another tsunami strike. Sarewitz adds that tools to mitigate the effects of these disasters are at hand.

"Most tools needed to reduce disaster vulnerability already exist, such as risk assessment techniques, better building codes and code enforcement, land-use standards, and emergency preparedness plans," Sarewitz and Pielke state. "The question is why disaster vulnerability is so low on the list of global development priorities."

For Sarewitz the answer is clear. Fruitful action on both climate change and disaster vulnerability should proceed simultaneously.

"This will not happen until the issues of climate change and disaster vulnerability are clearly separated in the eyes of the media, the public, environmental activists, scientists and policymakers," Sarewitz said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Researcher: Global Warming Not To Blame For Tsunami." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050125085524.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2005, January 26). Researcher: Global Warming Not To Blame For Tsunami. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050125085524.htm
Arizona State University. "Researcher: Global Warming Not To Blame For Tsunami." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050125085524.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins