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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Postgraduate Course: Natural Hazards and Risk (EASC11008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA comprehensive introduction to Natural Hazards and Risk at Honours level. The first part of the course is concerned with fundamentals of measurement and observation, the relevant principles of probability and statistics, the quantification of uncertainty and handling of extreme events. The second part concentrates on applications in forecasting hazards, using earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate, extreme weather and flooding events as exemplars. The final part includes assessment of vulnerability and risk, and societal issues such as planning, resilience-building, and disaster risk reduction in a social context, including a seminar you will present on a case study of your choice. This part of the course addresses UN Strategic development goals 11 ¿Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable¿ and 13 ¿Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts respectively¿ with 11.5 and 13.1 being particularly relevant.

Course description This is a quantitative 'applications' course- building on the generic skills taught in the Junior Honours programmes. Students are introduced to a range of natural hazards and risks, including the underpinning science, the necessary statistical analysis, and issues of forecasting and decision-making under uncertainty in a societal context. The course is fundamentally multi-disciplinary, and is taught by staff with strong research interests in these topics, including the interface with wider society. It will open up significant new opportunities for course graduates in Environmental Risk Assessment, Management and Mitigation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Algebra and Calculus (PHYS08041) OR Linear Algebra and Several Variable Calculus (PHYS08042)) OR Earth Modelling and Prediction 2 (EASC08026)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 40% Exam: 60%

1) Formative Oral presentation on a 'specific historical natural disaster', to be chosen by the students and delivered in small groups.

2) Assessed exercise on 'Analysis of extreme weather events' (case study of a flood or drought- e.g. Louisiana floods in 2016, UK floods in 2015, European heat waves in 2006 and 2016).

3) Assessed Essay in Disaster Risk reduction in Volcanology.

Feedback for exercises 1 and 2 within the scheduled time slots for the exercises. For exercises 3 and 4 the submission date for the report/essay will be 12 noon, two weeks after the exercise is completed, or the date of the essay question being assigned.

Assessment deadlines
Oral Presentations: (Formative) Case Study event - Semester 2, Wednesday Week 2, 12noon via Turnitin
Practical Exercise: (Assessed) Extreme Meteorological Events Semester 2, Thursday week 6, 12noon via Turnitin
Set Essay: (Assessed) Disaster Risk reduction in Volcanology Semester 2, Thursday week 9, 12noon via Turnitin

Feedback 1) Oral presentation. Feedback sheets will be given out at the start of each presentation and completed by peers in the class and the course lecturers. The course organiser will collate and go through these individually with the students.

2) Assessed exercise. The Met/Climate lead (shared with allied discipline staff if the class is large) will provide detailed written feedback.

3) Assessed essay. Detailed feedback will be given to the student, again with marking and feedback shared between the course team.

The marking for all coursework and exam material will be moderated.

Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the science and statistics underpinning natural hazard estimation.
  2. Estimate hazard and risk quantitatively, including all sources of uncertainty.
  3. Demonstrate practical skills in data analysis, integration and interpretation in hazard and risk applications.
  4. Understand societal issues affecting vulnerability, risk and resilience, and disaster risk reduction.
  5. Have a capacity for a professional career in risk quantification and management
Reading List
Bryant, EA, 1993. Natural Hazards. Cambridge
Keller, EA & RH Blodgett, 2006. Natural Hazards, Pearson Prentice Hall
Not, J., 2006. Extreme events, Cambridge
Woo, G., 2011. Calculating Catastrophe
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNatural Hazards,Risks
Course organiserProf Ian Main
Tel: (0131 6)50 4911
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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