The Natural Hazards Mission Area is responsible for coordinating USGS response following disasters and overseeing the bureau's emergency management activities. The mission area coordinates long-term planning across the full USGS hazards science portfolio, including activities funded through many other programs across the bureau, including floods, hurricanes and severe storms, and wildfires.
NCEI is responsible for hosting and providing access to one of the most significant archives on Earth, with comprehensive oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical data. From the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and from million-year-old sediment records to near real-time satellite images, NCEI is the Nation’s leading authority for environmental information.
Disasters represent a major source of risk for the poor. These natural events can wipe out development gains and accumulated wealth in developing countries. In this project we have assessed the global risks of two disaster-related outcomes: mortality and economic losses. We have estimated risk levels by combining hazard exposure with historical vulnerability for two indicators of elements at risk—gridded population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per unit area—for six major natural hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, drought, and cyclones. By calculating relative risks for each grid cell rather than for countries as a whole, we have been able to estimate risk levels at sub-national scales. Such information can inform a range of disaster prevention and preparedness measures, including prioritization of resources, targeting of more localized and detailed risk assessments, implementation of risk-based disaster management and emergency response strategies, and development of long-term land-use plans and multihazard risk management strategies. A set of accompanying case studies, available separately, explores risks from particular hazards or for localized areas in more detail, using the same theoretical framework as the global analysis.
In 1888, a blizzard so sudden and severe hit the American Midwest and claimed the lives of hundreds, some of whom died just outside the safety of shelter. Weather prediction of the fast-moving storm simply didn't reach people in time to prepare them.