Tsunami: a history of the term and of scientific understanding of the phenomenon in Japanese and Western culture.
In the past few years we have unfortunately had several reminders of the ability of a particular type of ocean wave--a tsunami--to devastate coastal areas. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, in particular, was one of the largest natural disasters of past decades in terms of the number of people killed. The name of this phenomenon, tsunami, is possibly the only term that has entered the physics lexicon from Japanese. We use Japanese and Western sources to document historical tsunami in Europe and Japan, the birth of the scientific understanding of tsunami, and how the Japanese term came to be adopted in English. (+info)
Flow forces on seaweeds: field evidence for roles of wave impingement and organism inertia.
Hydrodynamic forces dislodge and kill large numbers of organisms in intertidal and subtidal habitats along rocky shores. Although this feature of wave-driven water motion is well recognized, the mechanics of force imposition on compliant organisms is incompletely understood. Here we undertake a field examination of two processes that are thought to impose many of the more dangerous forces that act on flexible benthic seaweeds: impingement of breaking waves directly on emergent organisms, and inertial effects tied to the rapid deceleration of mass that occurs when a passively moving but attached organism abruptly reaches the extent of its range of motion. We focus on two common and important seaweed species: one intertidal kelp (Egregia menziesii) and one subtidal kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). Results support the concept that wave impingement and inertial effects produce intermittent force transients whose magnitudes commonly exceed values readily attributable to drag. Peak force transients are elevated by as much as a factor of 3 relative to drag in both small and large individuals, consistent with smaller seaweeds being more susceptible to brief impingement forces, and larger seaweeds being more vulnerable to inertial forces. Because both wave impingement and inertial effects vary with the size of an organism, they may have the potential to influence the demographics of physical disturbance in an array of flexible species. (+info)
Wind, waves, and wing loading: morphological specialization may limit range expansion of endangered albatrosses.
Katrina and the Thai Tsunami - water quality and public health aspects mitigation and research needs.
The South East Asian Tsunami in Thailand and Hurricane Katrina in the United States were natural disasters of different origin but of similar destruction and response. Both disasters exhibited synonymous health outcomes and similar structural damage from large surges of water, waves, and flooding. A systematic discussion and comparison of the disasters in Thailand and the Gulf Coast considers both calamities to be similar types of disaster in different coastal locations. Thus valuable comparisons can be made for improvements in response, preparedness and mitigation. Research needs are discussed and recommendations made regarding potential methologies. Recommendations are made to: (1) improve disaster response time in terms of needs assessments for public health and environmental data collection; (2) develop an access-oriented data sharing policy; and (3) prioritize natural geomorphic structures such as barrier islands, mangroves, and wetlands to help reduce the scale of future natural disasters. Based on the experiences gained opportunities to enhance disaster preparedness through research are presented. (+info)