Our paper on community vulnerability to floods and hurricanes in the Gulf Coast has been recognized as the most cited paper in the journal Disasters.
My research group Environmental Decision Making at the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama is accepting applications for a Ph.D student with research assistantship, in social dimension of hazards in general and flood hazards in particular. The assistantship provides a stipend plus tuition remission.
The successful applicant will work with me and two research groups at the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and will be involved in projects focused on human dimension of flood hazards.
Qualified candidates should have a Master’s degree in Geography, Environmental Studies/Sciences, Planning or a related discipline. Candidates should have a strong interest in the intersection of social and physical dimensions of hazards and be eager to work in an interdisciplinary environment. Experience in quantitative data analysis, survey design, geographic information systems (GIS) are desired. Strong oral and written communication skills are required.
For more information about this assistantship, please contact me at email@example.com well in advance of February 15, 2021 (the application deadline). Please include a copy of your CV, unofficial academic transcripts, and a brief personal statement that highlights skills relevant to the position.
For more information about the department, please see https://geography.ua.edu/.
In a new paper, we assessed the socio-economic vulnerability to flash floods across the contiguous U.S. This paper has been published in Scientific Reports (a Nature journal). For more information, below please find the abstract:
"Flash flood is among the most catastrophic natural hazards which causes disruption in the environment and societies. Flash flood is mainly initiated by intense rainfall, and due to its rapid onset (within six hours of rainfall), taking action for effective response is challenging. Building resilience to flash floods require understanding of the socio-economic characteristics of the societies and their vulnerability to these extreme events. This study provides a comprehensive assessment of socio-economic vulnerability to flash floods and investigates the main characteristics of flash flood hazard, i.e. frequency, duration, severity, and magnitude. A socio-economic vulnerability index is developed at the county level across the Contiguous United States (CONUS). For this purpose, an ensemble of social and economic variables from the US Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis were analyzed. Then, the coincidence of socio-economic vulnerability and flash flood hazard were investigated to identify the critical and non-critical regions. Results show that the southwest U.S. experienced severe flash flooding with high magnitude, whereas the Northern Great Plains experience lower severity and frequency. Critical counties (high-vulnerable-hotspot) are mostly located in the southern and southwestern parts of the U.S. The majority of counties in the Northern Great Plains indicate a non-critical status."
Our new paper was published in Disasters (impact factor: 1.797). Here is the abstract:
"It is of significance to assess and depict community vulnerability to floods and hurricanes. Over the past several decades, flooding and hurricanes have affected millions of people and caused massive economic losses. Despite efforts to reduce risks, these natural hazards remain to be a considerable challenge to coastal communities. In this paper, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methods are used to analyze coastal communities’ vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding along the U.S. Gulf coast, which is prone to these two hazards. Specifically, two types of quantitative indicators are developed: exposure to hurricanes and flooding, based on data from multiple sources such as National Climate Data Center and National Flood Insurance Program among others, and a social vulnerability index, constructed on census data at census tract level. These indices are combined to depict the spatial patterns of overall community vulnerability to flooding and hurricane hazards along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Results of this study can potentially inform disaster management agencies, county governments and municipalities of areas with heightened community vulnerabilities. The demonstration of geographic distribution of community vulnerability can assist decision makers in prioritizing to‐do items and designing policies/plans for more effective allocation of resources. We end this paper by discussing the limitations to the present study and the practical implications of the assessment."
The following two figures are from this article (Shao et al. forthcoming).
It has been quite an experience at the Esri User Conference. This international conference with more than 10000 attendees and hundreds of information-loaded sessions is the biggest annual event for geogeeks.
There were many cool presentations loaded with information at the Esri user conference today. Esri co-founder Jack Dangermond kicked off by showcasing many new developments in ArcGIS and innovative applications of GIS in many different sectors. It was exciting to see ArcGIS is providing an even bigger platform for many programs to be integrated. Microsoft chief environmental scientist demonstrated how artificial intelligence can be utilized on this collaborative platform to conserve our nature better. Disney animation studio technical director showed how the studio reconstructed believable landscapes by using the tool CityEngine in the Academy award winning movie Zootopia. The keynote speaker, theoretical physicist Geoffrey West used concepts and laws found in biology to explain urban development.
Excited to attend Esri User Conference in San Diego. As the "Microsoft" in the GIS software market, Esri has made the science of where so cool. Thanks to GIS and other spatial analysis techniques, geographers and other professionals can do all kinds of sophisticated analyses from finding an ideal location for a store to identifying certain crime hotspots, to geographically tracking real-time events, etc. With adequate training in GIS, geographers and other professionals can land very decent jobs across various sectors. According to American Association of Geographers, the median annual salary for geospatial information scientists and technologists is over $80,000.