The natural environment around us sometimes shows extreme and potentially dangerous behaviour. We refer to such phenomena as “natural hazards”. Examples are flooding, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, storms and volcanic eruptions. In some cases, the location and character of these hazards leads to devastating consequences for people – a “natural” disaster.
These natural phenomena are in general so extreme that it is not possible for us to remove the hazard, but we can affect our sensitivity or vulnerability to such hazards in order to reduce their negative effects. Suitable mitigation efforts can include better prediction of coming events, better physical infrastructure such as bridges, and a society better prepared to respond and recover when a major event occurs.
The character and scale of natural hazards can be very different, and therefore planning of improvements in physical infrastructure and emergency response can only be done effectively when based on a solid understanding of specific, potentially dangerous, natural hazards. Therefore an extensive spectrum of the Earth Sciences is centrally important in both research on and practical management of natural disasters. The Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University includes the most extensive collected competence in the country in natural hazards, including hydrology, seismology, meteorology, volcanology and many other relevant areas.
The University offers several education programs of relevance to natural disasters, including broad engineering and natural science programs in e.g. aquatic and environmental engineering and Earth Sciences as well as specialist education in e.g. meteorology or seismology. The Department is also involved in a Research School of natural disasters, CNDS (Centre for Natural Disaster Science) and The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN), which main aim is to collect seismological data from Swedish earthquakes.
Faran från fjärran vulkaner
Looking inside a volcano
Jordbävningar i Sverige och världen