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Disasters: Progress & Highlights

The Global Earthquake Model initiative

The Global Earthquake Model initiative (GEM) was contributed to GEOSS. The initiative is a public-private partnership that aims to calculate/communicate earthquake risk worldwide; For more details see the GEO Work Plan Progress Report and

Fire-potential maps

Fire-potential maps were produced for northern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Eurasia) through the integration of daily weather data from more than 400 stations. The method builds upon the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System. For more details see the GEO Work Plan Progress Report, the Eurasian Experimental Fire Weather Information System, Global Early Warning System for Wildland Fires, the European Forest Fire Information System, and the Global Fire Information Management System

Development of a volcanic-ash alert-system

A project was launched to develop a global operational volcanic-ash alert-system for aviation hazard avoidance. The new system should take into account atmospheric composition and thus increase the relevance of volcanic-ash alerts; For more details see the GEO Work Plan Progress Report.

Sentinel Asia becomes regional node of the International Charter

Sentinel Asia recently became a regional node of the International Charter. 28 Asian countries now have access to the Charter, 12 of which are GEO Members. The Sentinel Asia initiative supports the monitoring of wildfires and floods, builds capacity for using satellite images for disaster management, and disseminates information through GEONETCast; For more details see the GEO Work Plan Progress Report.

Improved access to the International Charter on Space and Disasters

Formal actions were undertaken by Europe and Africa to improve access to the International Charter on Space and Disasters. Thirteen meetings were organized with the disaster-management authorities of Mali, Niger, Uganda, South Africa, Burkina Faso (GEO Members) and Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya (non GEO Members); For more details see the GEO Work Plan Progress Report.

Deatil of interseismic coupling distribution mapA new GEO Supersite monitors, models the Sendai disaster

Pooling the best and most up-to-date images and model results, a new GEO Geohazard Supersite has been established to advance scientific understanding of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and support recovery operations. Meanwhile, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters has been activated at the request of the Japanese Cabinet and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). For additional images, information and links see the UN-SPIDER website.

Detail of highly smoothed model of coseismic slip

New slip models mark major advance in earthquake prediction

Scientists are currently unable to directly measure the stresses along tectonic fault lines. However, they are building a growing database of displacements of the earth’s surface associated with earthquakes, using L-band and C-band radar and GPS measurements. They are using this database together with seismicity measurements to produce models of how stress is redistributed after each shock, thus better delineating the areas of potential future seismic hazard. The website for the GEO Tohoku-oki Event Supersite now features links and further information on a new slip model developed by DPRI/Kyoto University and the US Geological Survey for Japan following the 11 march event .

Detail of renedring of PALSAR antennaJAXA distributes satellite data on earthquake, tsunami

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is providing updated PALSAR, ScanSAR and FBS data via its FTP site.

Users of these data are invited to share their results with JAXA and with the international community as a whole. The agency is also seeking any available information on the tsunami area, landslide area, deformation pattern (InSAR), future possible dangerous areas, and floating objects in the ocean.

This is a part of an animated gif which shows the propagation of the Tsunami. To see the complete map, click on the image. The image comes from the Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Prof. Takashi Furumura and Project Researcher Takuto Maeda.Sendai Event Supersite posts new maps and images

GEO continues to update the Sendai Event Supersite website with images, maps and links, most recently on interplate coupling, historic seismicity, and damage. A tsunami animation has also been posted (see thumbnail and link on the left).

map of fault slip model that measures tectonic plate movementFault slip model measures tectonic plate movement

Nagoya University researchers have measured the slip distribution which extends about 400 km along a north-south axis and reaches a maximum of about 10 meters. Click here for preliminary Static fault model.

detail of map showing aftershocks location350 aftershocks in first 60 hours

The Supersites has links to maps as well as 3D movies of the aftershocks recorded to date.

Aftershock maps

3D image of aftershocks

Detail of a map showing the seismicity of the Caribbean from 1990-2006 [Source: USGS]Haiti Supersite highlights critical earthquake information

Initiated by the geohazard scientific community as a contribution to GEO, the Supersites provide easy access to Earth science data and information on natural hazards in geologically active regions. In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, the Haiti Supersite has been updated with seismic maps, damage maps, topography data, visible and infrared images, interferograms, and useful links. See

Detail of cyclone frequency mapUN unveils new Global Risk Data Platform

The United Nations and its partners have presented an innovative new portal for disaster risk-management data on 19 June 2009. The launch took place at the Second Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Reduction, which was held in Geneva from 16 to 19 June 2009.

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