Remote sensing and interdisciplinary approach for forecasting and analysing the effects of hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons

Maurizio Fea, Massimo Capaldo, Cristiano Pesaresi

Abstract


Hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons are feared phenomena which frequently cause dramatic damage and consequences in different areas of the world. Since their impact typologies are very different according to the human and social contexts in which they break out, after providing a framework on their main characteristics, structures and measuring scales, we provide some considerations regarding the possible kinds of human works and elements which can be involved and the resilience of the populations. Then, we focus the attention on essential aspects to interpret satellite and radar imagery in order to support the observation and forecast of hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons. Thus, we provide numerous pieces of evidence regarding the importance and the added value of remote sensing in recent events as far as concerns for example the possibilities to: monitor the formation and development of these phenomena; estimate their maximum intensity and their turbulence intensity; provide useful indications for civil protection measures and activities; evaluate the amount of damage caused on many components, in terms of ecosystems and anthropic structures; quantify the land use changes between pre and post events; determine the general impact on urban areas and coastal zones etc. As different exemplificative cases for a specific analysis supported by the geomatics interpretation of remote sensing imagery, we have chosen: Hurricane Katrina, for the amount of widespread damage caused; Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Super-Typhoon Haiyan; and Typhoon Tip, considered to be the largest typhoon that ever occurred. According to the scheme defined by previous contributions (Fea et al., 2013a, 2013b), we also provide some didactical input for a participative and critical study of these phenomena, where students can converge methodological and applicative aptitudes, thus becoming actively responsible of their learning process.

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